Momentum Podcast: 851
Don't Make This Mistake in Conflict Resolution
by Alex Charfen
Written communication can be misinterpreted based on the recipient's state of mind and emotions. Especially for entrepreneurs, the tone we write in is exactly the emotion you are feeling at the time, regardless of if you recognize it or not. Have you ever sent an email and thought you did it all professionally, in spite of what you really wanted to say, and the person still got offended? That’s what I’m talking about in this podcast episode.
By addressing the issue directly and providing a solution, conflict can be calmed and clarity can be established. Written communication often leads to more conflicts and misunderstandings compared to personal conversations. Getting on a call or video conference allows for better resolution of issues. Reading an email or text in an angry or passive-aggressive voice can help identify potential misunderstandings. Handling conflicts personally and seeking direct communication helps create momentum in business and relationships.
In this podcast, you will learn a five step process to completely shift the way you approach conversations in your business.
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Links mentioned: predictablebusinesssystems.com
Full Audio Transcript
This is the Momentum podcast.
For us as entrepreneurs, conflict is inevitable. Challenges are inevitable, misunderstandings are inevitable. You are going to experience these in your career. Now there is a right way and a wrong way to handle these. And there is one thing that entrepreneurs do over and over again, and I know this intimately because for most of my career I made this mistake and I want to stop you from making the mistake that makes a challenge, a misunderstanding, a miscommunication, any type of conflict infinitely worse.
I'm Alex Charfen and this is the Momentum podcast made for empire builders, game changers, trailblazers, shot takers, record breakers, world makers and creators of all kinds. Those among us who can't turn it off and don't know why anyone would want to. We challenge complacency, destroy apathy, and we are obsessed with creating momentum so we can roll over bureaucracy and make our greatest contribution. Sure, we pay attention to their rules, but only so that we can bend them, break them, then rewrite them around our own will. We don't accept our destiny. We define it. We don't understand defeat because you only lose if you stop and we don't know how. While the rest of the world strives for average and clings desperately to the status quo, we are the minority, the few who are willing to hallucinate. There could be a better future. And instead of just daydreaming of what could be, we endure the vulnerability and exposure it takes to make it real. We are the evolutionary hunters. Clearly the most important people in the world, because entrepreneurs are the only source of consistent, positive human evolution. And we always will be.
I want to share an experience with you from last week where a friend of mine who is a coach and a consultant reached out and asked for a few minutes of my time because he was having a challenge with a deal he was putting together and he wanted to bounce some ideas off of me and get help. And so we jumped on the phone really quickly. This is somebody who's helped me. I'm happy to help him. And we jumped on a call and I said, “Okay, so tell me what's going on”. And he said, “Well, I have this high ticket client and I'm putting together a deal with him. And I put together a proposal and I sent it to him and told him to tell me what he thought it was worth. And he sent back a number that's like $100,000 less than what I would normally charge. And so I've written this really detailed email that I'm about to send him and see if we can get through this”. And I said, “Okay, so here's my advice first. Do not send the email”. And he was like, “What do you mean?” And I said, “Look, here's the issue. When you're in any type of a challenge or conflict or misunderstanding with somebody, they are going to read your email or text message or whatever it is that you're sending them in writing. They're going to read it with the feelings that they are having at that moment. They are going to read it with this state of mind that they're in”. So if they're in a challenged place, if they're in a frustrated place, and they’re in a place where there's some anxiety and if you're already in a conflict or having a miscommunication, those things might be present. So when you send something to them, you have no idea and you have no control over how that is going to be received. And I said, take a look at your email. And this is where I often tell people, take a look at the email you're about to send or the text message you're about to send and read it in an angry voice. And here's the issue. We're writing it in a conciliatory and a happy voice. We're writing it in a, ‘Hey, I-want-to-work-this-out’ voice. But if you read it back to yourself in an angry voice, you can absolutely see how almost any email where you're trying to reconcile something can be taken the wrong way. In fact, read it in a passive aggressive voice and you'll see that it's near impossible just in writing to communicate that you don't want to have conflict, to communicate, that you're trying to fix something, to communicate, that you're trying to get something going in the right direction. And so my first advice for him was do not send the email.
And then we talked through what was going on with him a little bit more. And I said, you know, here's how I would handle this conflict. You know, you made a mistake as a coach or consultant. You always should assign the pricing that you feel has your value to any proposal that you send out. If you send it to a client, by the way, you know, you're working with somebody who's super high net worth because he can afford your consulting. He runs an investment firm. So his whole job is to get an unfair advantage, is to create arbitrage, is to buy stuff at a lower price that he can sell at a higher price. So if you ask him to price it, he's going to price it lower. And so I would get on a call with him and the first thing I would say to take all the conflict out of the room is just say, “Hey, you know what? I made a mistake here. I should have put a price on this. I sent it to you to try and assign a price that was unfair. And as a result, you know, the price that you've indicated here is lower. And let me explain to you why it's lower than I would normally charge. And let me explain to you why. And I think we can come to an agreement here”. And so he accepted the advice, which was great. A lot of times the people that I've worked with for a while and that I'm friends with are willing to listen. And he jumped on a call with the guy. He did not send the email and I got a message back from him later that said, “Hey, you know what? We got to almost the price I wanted. We resolved the conflict. There wasn't really a conflict. It was just a misunderstanding. And I'm excited to move this deal”. For me, it's like, ‘Thank you so much for stopping me from sending the email’.
And so if you're in a conflict, misunderstanding, or any type of a challenge with somebody, step number one is to get on a call with them and admit that there's an issue and take responsibility for your part in that issue, regardless of what it is. Take as much responsibility as you can, and then that way you put them in a place where they're not trying to tell you you have responsibility for the conflict. They're not trying to tell you. You have responsibility for the misunderstanding. You do it upfront and don't send anything in writing. Again, people are going to read anything that's in writing in the state of mind that they're in, and you have no control over that. In fact, if you're already in a challenge and they're in a good mood and they see your name and it's an email, they're going to go, ‘Oh man, we're already having this disagreement or misunderstanding’. And so chances are it's going to be read in the wrong way. And so if you're ever having a conflict on your part before you get on that call, like sit down and write down some notes, this is what I advise my friends. Like, write, friend, write down some notes on how you caused this issue and tell that person right up front. You know, I've got this sign on my office or on the wall when I'm coming into my office, and it has three equations on them, and one of them is clarity over confrontation. When you take responsibility for your part in any type of a conflict, you are creating clarity instead of confrontation. Instead of conflict, instead of misunderstanding instead of challenges. When you explain to somebody what you feel you did wrong and what a follow up process could be, or what the next steps could be, you're creating clarity for them as to where you feel like you've made a mistake. And so here's what psychologically happens for that person. You give them the issue. And so their mind says, ‘Oh, okay, well, this is the issue’ and it stops looking for challenges. If you're dealing with anybody in business as business owners, as entrepreneurs, we have a predisposition to look for the challenge. If it's a ‘high D’ individual and I say ‘high-D’, I mean on the disk profile, if it's a driven, motivated out there doing stuff individual, the biggest offense to a high-D individual, to somebody who's most likely to be running the company to be out there like forging their own way, charging their own path. The biggest offense is to make someone like they feel taken advantage of.
It's funny when I think of the business deals that haunt me, that frustrates me. The deals where like, we hired a contractor and he just didn't do the work he was supposed to do, I feel taken advantage of. And I remember those. And if you're a high D individual, you probably know what I'm talking about. If you're not, I want you to trust me that for someone like me, if I feel taken advantage of, that is the biggest conflict that you can create. And the way that you take that away completely is by upfront telling the person the issue that you caused and how we can resolve it. And then the mind relaxes that conflict oriented challenge that you're having in the communication goes away. And so if you have a conflict, a challenge, a misunderstanding, do the following. Write down notes, but don't send anything in writing unless it's just to say, ‘Hey, can we jump on a call?’ Then jump on a call. Own your part of the conflict upfront and then provide a next step. Hey, I made a mistake here. Let's talk through this and I think we can still come to an understanding. And when you do that, you calm the conflict, you create clarity and you move things forward. And if things go well, you're going to create massive momentum.
In my career, I can't tell you how many perfectly written emails or text messages or written communications where I was so sure that as soon as I sent it, I was going to calm all the conflicts. I was so sure that as soon as I sent it, the other person was going to see my side. And honestly, when I was preparing to record this, I was thinking probably nine out of ten that they went wrong. But if I mean, to be more honest with myself, it's probably 99 out of 100 times that it went wrong or it didn't go as well as it could, or it created additional content and additional frustration. And so. If you have any type of issue with somebody, handle it with them personally. That's the best way to handle these types of things. Get on a call if you can make it a video conference where they can see you and they can see some nonverbals and they can see that you are really trying to solve this. And remember, people are going to read that email in the state of the mind that they're in and you have no control over it. And if you don't trust this, just take that last step. Read the email or text. You're going to send in either an angry voice or a passive aggressive voice. And whenever I've done that, I read it back and I'm like, ‘Oh, man, I should not be sending this’. And this is going to help you create massive momentum in your business and your relationships, save relationships and move business deals forward instead of creating additional conflict that you then have to go and repair.
And I just want to thank you for listening to the podcast. You know, if you are a business owner who's growing a business, we have put together a resource for you that I think is going to change your business personally or permanently. So permanently, we have this process of analyze, prioritize, commit, execute and renew, and that is the best way to consistently grow a business. And the thing that's missing in most companies is that step of analyze. Most organizations don't have a consistent way to analyze the business to see what it needs. Well, we've been coaching and teaching entrepreneurs how to do this for over a decade, how to create consistent, clear analysis so you know exactly what to commit to in your business.
If you go to predictablebusinesssystems.com, you can download our Five Core Functions resource and the Five Core Functions analysis is a way to consistently analyze your business. Know exactly what it means or needs. Commit to the right projects and move your business forward with momentum. Go to predictablebusinesssystems.com and download the resource. Now I'm giving this to you because I want your business to grow so you can come and join our membership where we are helping entrepreneurs change the world through simplifying their operations. So go to predictablebusinesssystems.com now, download the resource and remember, if you're having a conflict in-person, one on one is the best way to resolve it. No matter how good a writer you are, no matter how perfect a response you write, it's probably not going to be taken in the right way.