Dissatisfaction Times Vision Times First Steps Must Be Greater Than the Resistance

The equation that drives change is simple:

Dissatisfaction times Vision times First Steps must be greater than the Resistance to the impact of all three combined or else change efforts falter.

There are plenty of dissatisfied people in your workplace, your work group, or even just your organization.

There are people who insist that providing negative feedback is the only way to encourage organizational growth and they provide it liberally.

There are people who have been dissatisfied for years in your organization; who have made brief, or even faltering, attempts at change, but have been stymied and have now surrendered.

There are people inside your organization who claim they are dissatisfied, but who are mimicking the sounds of dissatisfaction as a political power move to angle for a better position at the organizational table.

There are people with vision in your workplace, your work group, and your organization. But this vision is hazy, or they are easily distracted by the next “hot” leadership initiatives, or their vision can be compromised with just a little more money or promotion.

There are people who take first steps and attend training, workshops, and seminars.

They read books and articles, combing the internet for advice and guidance about how to overcome the organizational ennui that holds back change.

There are people who take the same first steps, but their enthusiasm doesn’t go anywhere.

They stop at memorizing the “how-to” listicle and when trying to apply the emotional jujitsu against the resistance in their organizations, they experience limited success.

But these elements, dissatisfaction, vision, and first steps, must be greater than the sum of the organizational resistance to them. Or else, the changes that you are seeking inside of your organization, your work group, or even the team that is inside your sphere of influence, won’t happen.

The resistance to change is pernicious, persistent, and it never gives up. The resistance to change is sneaky and sly and sometimes comes in the form of well-meaning people and situations that appear as though they are helping your cause of change when in reality they are hurting it.

No great change happens without conflict. And no great conflict can happen without the resistance being overcome.

And if you think that it can, then you are bound to wind up stuck in the same place of dissatisfaction where you initially began your change journey.

Change Comes Upon Us Gradually

Change comes upon us gradually.

Change comes in our organizations when we hire one person, and then two, and then more, who think differently about the mission, vision, values, and goals of the organization.

Change comes when the people (or persons) at the top of a hierarchy choose to give up their power over and engage in power with; and, not as a marketing ploy or with lip service.

Change comes when a person in an organization, decides to take a risk, stand up, challenge the status quo respectfully, firmly, and consistently.

Change comes when technology creeps into systems that we once believed were sacrosanct, but are now revealed to be hollow.

Change comes when we are lamenting the things that have passed and are looking with fear at the future that has yet to come.

And then, change is upon us all at once.

And we collectively can’t remember a time when the change wasn’t the norm.

What Do You Do With Resonance

Resonance is underrated as a way of sparking change.

There are two things that happen when we hear an idea that resonates with us:

We admire the person who shared the message with us.

We file the message away in the back of minds.

Occasionally there are those people who take the idea that resonates and do something with it.

For those folks, the message (and the resonance) become a signpost on the billboard of their minds.

But there are not nearly enough of them, operating fast enough, with enough courage to make the kind of change that we need to see in the world.

Are you inspired, or are you admiring?

Clearing Out the Cruft

Clearing out the cruft that surrounds your reactions and responses to conflicts in your life, can take at least a lifetime.

Clearing out the cruft that surrounds your employee’s reactions and responses to conflicts in your organization can take at least 20 years.

Clearing out the cruft that surrounds your country, community, and neighborhood’s reactions and responses to conflicts in your country, community, and neighborhood, can take at least 50 years.

But that doesn’t mean that Ghandi, Candace Lightner, or even your cousin can’t change—or even be the source of effective change in others.

It means that the change isn’t going to happen nearly as fast as you think that it should.

It just means that when the change finally comes the impacts will appear slowly at first, and then all at once.

It also means that attending one training, reading one blog post, or implementing the ideas from one book, is not going to ever replace the hard work of working on yourself first, and everyone else second.

[Strategy] What is Conflict? For the Peacebuilder

Conflict is a process of change, if you believe in the process view of conflict. Changes can’t happen unless internal conflicts lead to an external conflict that changes parties.

However, if you search Google, what parties really believe about conflict shines through:

  • How do I get out of my marriage?
  • How do I get away with it?
  • What is the best way to get a divorce?
  • How do I cheat?
  • How do I get away from my wife?
  • How do I get away from my husband?
  • What does divorce do to children?
  • How do I get my boss fired?
  • How do I avoid getting fired by my boss?
  • How do I get a different job?

Our Google searches reveal our inner truths. They reveal our inner desires to avoid, delay, surrender, or negate the uncomfortable process that lead to changes that inevitably must happen in our lives if they are to improve for the better. A better we can neither understand, nor see, in the present of our short-term fears.

Our Google searches reveal that, for many of us, the answer to the question “What is conflict?” is “A negative thing that makes me uncomfortable and that needs to be avoided—or made to go away—at all costs.”

Our Google searches reveal that our resistance to change is strong, our comfort with conflict is deep, and our view of the conflict, the process of getting through it, and the changes on the other side of it, are deeply negative.

Which is why, if you’re a conflict resolution practitioner, your work is cut out for you. But not in getting parties to resolution.

Your work—your deep emotional labor—lies in doing the digging to persuade and convince well-meaning parties in conflict (and those yet to be in conflict) to chip away at the cruft surrounding their preconceived notions, revealed through Google searches, of conflict as a negative.

As a conflict practitioner, this is your process of change.

What do your Google searches reveal about how you view conflict?

[H/T] Justin R. Corbett

[Strategy] Managing Muscular Development

Here’s a simple calculation:

Managing yourself + managing other people = a full time job.


Don’t let people fool you. There’s plenty of full-time work out there. But there’s no pay. And the cost for failing at it is high.

We underestimate the power of disputes (as a part of the conflict process) to go viral, through the stories that we tell other people about the conflicts we are embroiled in.

Conflict engagement requires that we understand our own inner lives, and move from being selfish (inwardly focused) to being self-aware (knowing what’s going on with us internally, without becoming overwhelmed and focused on it). This is the core of the first part of the equation.

Conflict management requires that we understand (or at least acknowledge) the presence of emotions and the depth of their impact, on other people in with whom we are in dispute. This is the core of the second part of the equation.

Conflict as a full time job is requires us to recognize that conflict sometimes serves the other person and their motives, sometimes it serves us and our motives, and sometimes it serves nobody at all. Conflict will never go away, and sometimes the management of the process requires us to be tuned in (almost to have a sixth sense) about how power, story and emotions wind around issues of advocacy, policy and process.

There’s plenty of full time work out here. But too many people would rather defer the hard work of figuring out the parts of the above equation today, in the hope that tomorrow will just be a slightly better version of the past they just left.

This is neither engagement, nor management. It is mere avoidance.

And mere avoidance atrophies our emotional muscles as surely as a lack of exercise atrophies the physical muscles.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: jsorrells@hsconsultingandtrainining.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HSConsultingandTraining
Twitter: www.twitter.com/Sorrells79
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/jesansorrells/

[Strategy] Integrative Change

The systems undergirding our lives, our families, our communities and our organizations, governments and businesses are based on distributive mindsets, philosophies, behaviors and approaches to conflict.

Integrative Change Quote

Distribution grows from the foundation of perceived scarcity of resources, competition, a “winner-take-all” mentality, and limited outcomes around things that matter.

But sometimes, even inside of these systems, and working inside distributive rules, individuals attempt to remake the world to reflect a different reality and to attain different outcomes.

Individuals attempt to be collaborative and build relationships based on integrative bargaining strategies, collaborative teambuilding and a philosophy that the ends and the means must match.

On rare occasions, individuals scale up those relationships into organizations.  Then, the distributive systems embedded in economics, social policy and the law, co-opt their best practices, their language and their approach to develop a “brand image” while losing and abrogating the heart of those individual interactions.

The push and pull that underlies the growth of the Internet—and its future spread to other areas—is that between a distributive world view and economic system, now being forced to operate within a highly integrative system that wasn’t really built for them.

The great benefit of integrative negotiation tactics and strategies is that they serve to build the foundation to be distributive in the future, rather than having to consider proving the benefits of distributive negotiation tactics and strategies by the next quarterly stock report.

Organizations built on an integrative framework inherently will have no trouble operating distributively when its time. And they will reap the benefits long-term for a long time. We’re looking at you, Facebook.

Organizations built on distributive frameworks will perish, or have immense trouble determining when best to operate integratively when it’s most appropriate. We’re looking at you, IBM.

Individuals, however, will continue to interact both distributively and integratively no matter what the system tells them.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: jsorrells@hsconsultingandtraining.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HSConsultingandTraining
Twitter: www.twitter.com/Sorrells79
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/jesansorrells/

[Strategy] CRaaS for Employees

Online based processes to resolve human disputes have had a long and harried journey.

CRaaS for Your Organization

In some ways, this is because technology and innovation has not caught up to the conceptual framework of the people who envisioned its wide use.

In other ways, the integration of human beings—with the emotional stimulus that human beings bring to conflicts—has proven to be beyond the capacity of such online systems to handle.

In orer to overcome both of these drawbacks, clumsy integration of human beings into the process of online dispute resolution at the beginning point, the midpoint and even the endpoint of systems has become enshrined in ODR procedures and practices.

However, organization of all sizes, can create their own conflict resolution as a service platform, for the benefit of employees, with the help of web based applications, cloud based storage capacity and encrypted and secured servers.

As technology further advances, predictive (rather than reactive) systems based in artificial intilleigence, data storage practices and analytical tracking, could provide the next pieces in the process to integrate humans in a conflict resolution system that serves the needs of both human resources and the employees in conflict.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: jsorrells@hsconsultingandtraining.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HSConsultingandTraining
Twitter: www.twitter.com/Sorrells79
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/jesansorrells/

On Leads, Or How to Sell What Clients and Organizations Don’t Think They Need

No one needs help resolving conflicts.


People need help communicating. People need help leading and figuring out leadership. People need help managing other people. People need help with figuring out “how to talk to annoying Aunt Janet and Uncle Mike.”

But no one needs help resolving conflicts.

When put on the spot, 9 times out of 10, people will be unable to identify a conflict they are having in their life, that is impacting them at a level where they may need conflict engagement skills services.

However, the person standing next to them—wife, husband, friend, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew—will be able to zero in on where the person is deficient in their approach to a conflict.

But, it’s not the person standing next to the person who can’t think of a conflict they need help with that’s the problem: The problem is that the dysfunction of unresolved conflicts is so normalized that it’s no longer seen as a problem.

Case in point:

Him: “So, what’s your business?”

Me: “I’m a professional conflict engagement consultant. I help small businesses, higher education organizations and churches engage with the conflicts in their lives.”

Him: “So, can I get your card?”

Me: “Sure.”

Him: “So, I guess I would bring you in say if I had problems managing the 40 or so staff members that work for me?”

Me: “That’s precisely where I would be the most help for you.”

Wife: “Hey!” “He could help you out with the argument you had with your daughter this morning!”

Him: “What am I gonna do, huh!? She’s gotta come into work at least once a week. I understand that she’s got an issue, but c’mon already!”

They both laugh. The wife rolls her eyes. They walk back into the restaurant.

No one needs conflict resolved in their lives. Until they actually do.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: jsorrells@hsconsultingandtraining.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HSConsultingandTraining
Twitter: www.twitter.com/Sorrells79
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/jesansorrells/