First 200 Bad Drawings

There are 200 bad drawings inside every comic book artist.

Just as there are an estimated 1,000 bad words/turns of phrase inside of every writer.

And there are a certain number of below quality (or poor quality) teaching or training experiences inside of every teacher and trainer.

There are 1,500 bad jump shots inside every free throw shooter. As there are multiple bad layups inside of every basketball player.

In professional fields from comedy to athletics, the audience accepts that there is a curved path that the performer has to walk, from being inexperienced to being experienced.

What the audience doesn’t know is where the performer is at on the path from being inexperienced to being experienced, which complicates the audience’s judgment of the performance.

And can warp its feedback.

But the thing is, once the performer gets all the inexperience out of their system, and successfully works their way through the curve from inexperienced to experienced, the performer won’t care what the performance “looks like” to the audience.

The performer won’t care about the feedback about their performance from the audience either.

Earbud_U, Season Four, Episode # 5 – Dana Caspersen

 [Podcast] Earbud_U, Season Four, Episode # 5 – Dana Caspersen, Dancer, Conflict Specialist, Author, Performance Facilitator



The results of our conflicts, disagreements, differences of opinion and more are manifest not only in our lives, but also are captured in our physical bodies.

Structural violence, social justice, and where is all of this exactly in the individual’s body?

Our guest today on the show, Dana Caspersen, is a conflict specialist, author, dancer, and performing artist.

Her work focuses on empowering people to transform conflict from the inside: changing the conversation by changing their own actions and approach.

Dance is not something that I know anything about. Sure, my daughter does dance. And I’ve done some dancing in the past. And my wife likes to go dancing.

But that’s just the rantings of a dilettante who knows nothing about the process of art. Kind of like a weekend painter or a casual sculpture.

Dana has written a book about all of this, including how implicit biases live in the way that the body moves. It’s the mind-body connection where a lot of the outcomes of conflict live at.

And we all do performances so that we don’t have to listen to each other, much less our own selves…

Here’s the thing though: Violence captured in bodies ends up leading to violent lives.

And even if there isn’t any overt physical violence, the toll that stress takes on a body in conflict is manifest in the ways that we walk, talk, and carry ourselves.

None of this is easy to talk about, much less recognize, which is why Dana does the work that she does, and why she wrote the book that she wrote.

Dance, movement, conflict, and systemic violence.

All elements that meet in a miasma of conflicting ideas that continuously crash around us.

Whether we are consciously aware of it…or not….

Connect with Dana through all the ways you can below:

Dana’s Tedx Talk:

Dana Caspersen’s Website:

Dana on Facebook:

Dana on LinkedIn:

Dana on Twitter:

Dana Caspersen’s YouTube Channel:

Knotunknot Documentary:

2 Reviews of Dana’s Book:

[Advice] KPIs for Conflict Resolution Skills Training

We talked about KPI’s (key performance indicators) for New Years’ Resolutions toward the end of 2013.

It was pointed out to us at a workshop recently that, while our content was compelling and valuable, there seemed to be no KPI’s or metrics to indicate to the organization (or any organization that would hire us) that our training had any long-term value.

Good point.

As a result, we went back and though about our recent posts on CRaaS (here and here) and how to integrate conflict resolution skills training into the workplace, and came up with some relevant KPI’s and metrics.

Follow along with us:

  • The primary KPI for conflict resolution training is to measure changes in levels engagement at the supervisory/management level. This can primarily be accomplished through having reports and higher-ups engage in 360 degree evaluations with special emphasis on conversations with impacted employees, with a particular focus on quality, frequency and type.
  • The second way to measure performance improvement at the entry and mid-level positions, is by tracking reductions in registered complaints and concerns, reductions in reported and perceived conflicts and tracking reductions in sick day/vacation day usage by entry level employees, interns and others who are front facing but rarely receive training or mentorship.
  • Finally, measuring increases in productivity is hard. However, increased customer engagement, overall employee satisfaction and measuring employee retention, goes a long way toward measuring the efficacy of conflict resolution skills training in your organization.

Of course, if you don't want to measure in these three areas, you could always track reductions in lawsuits and litigation efforts by employees, supervisors, managers, customers and others.


[Strategy] You Are Doing Great Things, I Know It…

Performance evaluations, feedback, criticism and “suggestions for improvement” in people’s performance all serve as ways to separate leaders from followers.


We had a conversation this week about caring (see here) and we keep coming back to the idea when we think about how leaders should encourage their followers’ hearts. Most of the time, people analyze what we do—as either leaders or followers—and then make judgments about our performance. Often this judgment is then equated with a person’s character, wisdom or ethics.

But organizations and institutions can’t—and don’t—care. Only people do. And in order to encourage people to continue to follow, leaders must care about the people that they are leading, enough to guide them through the necessary risks to execute the mission.

Performance evaluations, feedback, “suggestions for improvement,” criticism, and many other forms of feedback are often used as a cover for the vulnerability that really caring about followers requires.

“But what do you do if people aren’t doing the ‘right’ thing and screwing up the process?”

This question is a corporate variation on “How do you tell the truth in grace to someone?” and it’s an excellent one. Here are three ideas:

  • Know what you care about as a leader and why—Some leaders care about process more than people. If that’s the case, recognize and praise the process, rather than attempting to recognize and praise the person.
  • Be genuine with yourself as a leader—Some leaders struggle with self-awareness. But feedback, criticism and other forms of “improvement” lectures don’t work, and can often be seen as blameing and excuse making. Being genuine with yourself means care about what your role is before caring about your followers’ roles.
  • Seek to understand first—Some leaders are self-absorbed, narcissistic and vainglorious. Harsh sounding words, yes, but in a world where genuine recognition of others is the only way to effectively encourage a heartful followership, a leader must seek to understand their followers’ hearts—and care about them.

In the short run, caring about people and building relationships is the only way to go for a leader. Celebration and rituals, combined with the importance of symbols, done with authenticity and heartfelt pride in ones followers, can do more to cement long term growth than any amount of money, service development or process change.

Encouraging the heart requires caring about people and creating long term, value based relationships.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT:

Top 3 Tactics for Avoiding Performance Improvement

We are sure that we aren’t the first corporate training firm working in the area of conflict resolution to hear either one–or all three–of the following statements:

Multiple Symbols

“The people who really need this information to have better approaches, won’t be attending these sessions.”

“The people who are causing all the problems and could use this workshop to improve aren’t going to come.”

“The people who could support us up the chain in changing our approaches, can’t come to the workshops due to scheduling issues.”

Just in case you’ve ever said any one—or any combination of the three—above statements, we here at HSCT have a few suggestions to get “buy-in” from the people who aren’t showing up, learning, or otherwise growing in your organization.

  • For the people occupying positions above your position, find out if they like to look good. Attending a conflict resolution workshop will make them look good to their bosses. It will also help them save money on recruiting and retention.
  • For the people occupying position parallel to your position, find out if they want to get promoted. Attending a conflict resolution workshop will make them promotable. Which means more money for them.
  • For the people in conflict with you, or those creating conflict in your organization, find out how they view the organization and their place in it. Once you do that, then you can tap into their inner work based ego.

Which we’ll cover the work based ego in another blog post later this year, but we have covered emotional illiteracy, workplace anger, being concerned about employees, and the depth of the “conflict question” all of which relate directly to using these tricks.

Employ the above tactics and the next time we’re invited into your organization, you’ll come up with a different statement for us.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT:
HSCT’s website: