Thoughts and Insights by Michael Gregory

Man in suit pointing at clear screen where the button he is pointing at says audit
August 7th, 2020

Begin an Audit with the IRS with Collaboration

When you think of collaboration quite likely the IRS does not come to mind. Rather when you hear the term IRS you are not thinking of working together. Instead the thought of an IRS audit likely brings forth thoughts of anxiety, I don’t have time for this, why me and now what? With that in mind I thought explaining some basic tips after receiving an audit letter from the IRS may help. Especially as these tips relate to The Collaboration Effect. After all the IRS are people too.

IRS symbol with IRS - blue background and white symbol and lettering
August 3rd, 2020

IRS, Business Valuers, Adjustments and Preventative Approaches

On July 1, 2020 it was my pleasure to be interviewed by Melissa Gragg, CVA, MAFF, CDFA and Managing Partner at Bridge Valuation Partners, LLC. This 84 minute podcast is packed many ideas of how to avoid and what to do if audited by the IRS on an estate or gift tax return. For business valuers this commentary focuses on the most common adjustments by IRS Business Valuers and what you might want to consider to both avoid an audit and what to do if audited. What does this have to do with The Collaboration Effect® you may ask. Read on. Clearly not everything in that podcast can be presented here, but some of the key highlights can be. The purpose of this commentary is to focus on one of the questions from that podcast. That is: What are the most common adjustments by IRS Business Valuers.

Symbol for the IRS with the letters IRS underneath
July 27th, 2020

IRS, The Collaboration Effect® and Estate and Gift Tax Audits- What do they have in common?

On July 14, 2020 it was my pleasure to be interviewed by Melissa Gragg, CVA, MAFF, CDFA and Manag

Smiling happy woman looking at connections of photos of smiling tied together with linksl
July 20th, 2020

Here are three keys to happiness at work

We are in stressful times with COVID-19, George Floyd, and work. For those of working, we feel for those that aren’t. For those working with kids in school there are many unknowns for this fall with virtual classes, being at school and hybrids. Those are plans, and once something happens parents will have to adjust to changes. With everything going on in our lives at home, in life and at work, what can we do to find more happiness at work? That is the focus of this article.

two caricatures with one lifting a sign stating "ethics" on one end and the other with his had on the sign on the other end
July 14th, 2020

This is how to remain ethical with hard bargainers

With the advent of artificial intelligence ethics is taking on additional importance. The Harvard Program on Negotiation identifies five principles for consideration. Linda Fisher in her book, 7 lenses, Learning Principles and Practices of Ethical Leadership offers seven lenses of ethical responsibility. A question is how can these principles and ethical responsibilities be applied to negotiations? When working with principled negotiators the ethical principles and ethical responsibilities seem to be very practical. What about when needing to address hard bargainers that don’t seem to have principles and ethical responsibilities?

blue fist thumbs up me and red fist thumbs down them
July 6th, 2020

Here is what to do when you're right and they are wrong

Some situations are clear. Sometimes there is no doubt someone else is in the wrong. They may not even realize they are in the wrong, but they are. When that happens what should you do?  This article addresses a personal situation and then points out how the same approach can be played out at work.  For example, you’re in line for a check out and someone cuts in front of an elderly person to move ahead in line at the grocery story. What do you do?  Some are more assertive and speak up. Others would be intimidated by this and say nothing. What might you do?

Two horizontal arrow pointing opposite ways with old way and new way
June 28th, 2020

Here are three great ideas for addressing change

Research has shown that 58% of businesses reinvent themselves at least every three years. Think about that for a second. With Covid-19, one of those times likely for an even greater percentage is now. The question is how do you adapt? So, what should you do? These three suggestions from the Harvard Business Review are to flip conventional thinking. They are: Rather than “follow best practices” “share your failures” Rather than “if it ain’t broken don’t fix it” to “fix it anyway Rather than “control your assets” to “share your assets” The HBR article takes a look at these suggestions and provides you with some ideas looking directly at business results. In this blog article additional thoughts are presented for you to consider based on this author’s personal experiences. Both hopefully give you some food for thought from different perspectives to help you going forward.

 A grouping of words with the word TAXES in caps and red. All the words have something to do with taxes
June 22nd, 2020

Here are five good negotiating techniques to use with the IRS and others

When you are involved with a negotiation with the IRS or another party where it appears there may be significant differences of opinion, here are five good negotiating techniques to consider. Start off by determining your and their positions. What is your Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA), what do you think is their BATNA? Next consider offering the first alternative position known as an anchor to set the stage. Listen actively without judgment to understand where they are coming from. Reframe the negative to a neutral or even into a positive when possible. Finally, seek advice from those with experience in these matters. Beware those that should have the expertise, and focus on those that know what they are talking about.

two black silhouettes on the left and the right with the word negotiation in blue behind them
June 14th, 2020

Here are the three best tips to negotiate closure

Previously on this blog tips have been presented on how to negotiate closure, how to close a deal in a negotiation, and closing the deal – what is the impact on the next one. Reflecting on these blogs and considering that we can remember three things well, this blog priorities the three best tips to negotiate closure. In the end isn’t that what we want whether it be a sales deal, a business negotiation or an end to a conflict? My experience is, that is what the decision maker wants. In corporate America the VP’s may be only oriented towards their area of influence, but the C-Suite people want closure. That’s what business owners want too. So, what are these three best tips? Negotiate the process including benchmarks and deadlines Come up for air When needed bring in fresh faces

Young beautiful African American couple, happy and apparently in love
June 8th, 2020

Minnesota Nice, People of Color, Conflict Resolution, and Collaboration

After the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis Minnesotans are taking a good hard look at themselves. This is causing conflict at levels not seen here before at least in my time in Minnesota (since 1983). So, what does Minnesota nice, people of color, conflict resolution, and collaboration have to do with each other? Everything. Giving this some thought as a person that works on conflict resolution; diversity, equity and inclusion with the Minnesota State Bar Association with the board of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Section; someone that has taught on this topic; and someone who conducts regular research on this topic, here are some thoughts and ideas as Minnesotans wrestles with these issues.

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