Archive for August, 2010

What happens when we are really upset about something? Our minds become a swirling tempest and it’s hard to focus on what we are intending to do. We might also get into trouble — saying things that shouldn’t come out of our mouths or taking rash actions that could crash our careers. Because being able to handle our negative emotions is so important, Jean Ramsey and I devoted most of Chapter 3 to it in Reframing Change.

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Sunday, May 1, 2011 was National Lemonade Day, an event designed to teach entrepreneurial skills to children.  A few weeks before, Morgan, age 6, wrote us as her grandparents to ask us to invest $12.00 in her lemonade business.  With the aid of her father, she was going to set up a lemonade stand and sell lemonade on that date.

Her grandfather sent the check immediately.

A couple of weeks before the big day, we drove to her home and Morgan showed us the colored step-by-step workbook that the local entrepreneurial association had put together to guide participants through the business of selling lemonade.  It was impressive:  it included a week by week plan, a resource list, and a budget outline with places for the kids to fill in their own information — and, of course, color the illustrations.

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Assumptions in interpersonal communication

Preface:  In Jean Ramsey’s and my book, Reframing Change, we explain how to test your assumptions at the interpersonal level.  Bill Brenneman, today’s guest blogger, specializes in helping work teams identify and test assumptions that may cause severe, even life-threatening, situations.  In this post, Bill provides an introduction to his rigorous field of work.

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As Jean and Jean point out in Reframing Change, Chapter 2, assumptions can lead us astray without our knowing it is happening. This is a problem–and an opportunity–that come up every time my colleagues and I try to find the cause(s) of complex problems or failures in industrial or organizational settings. This is why:

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In the previous post, we met Tracy who is having a hard time getting along with Sasha. As Tracy complained to her partner, “how am I supposed to work on a charity event with someone who has nothing to say and has such a superior attitude?”

The response today is by Sandra Lopez, a licensed clinical social worker and consultant.

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Tracy’s scenario is just so typical of what any one of us might encounter. Clearly as she shares her feelings with her partner, we can see that Tracy has become frustrated, stressed, and is even experiencing some sense of helplessness in knowing how to make the situation better. Like many of us in these kinds of predicaments, she has formed negative assumptions about her co-worker. Given the current status of her relationship with Sasha, she raises a good question in wondering how she will survive the stress of working on this charity event.

How do we work through these challenging interpersonal conflicts when they happen? Tracy can relieve a great deal of her stress in this working relationship by consciously using herself to more effectively manage the situation.

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