Thoughts and Insights by Michael Gregory

Working with Difficult People

Alberta Canada reflection of sky and mountains on lake
September 22nd, 2020

Apply the art of de-escalation to a conflict

Have you ever been in a conflict with someone about something and wanted to either prevent the situation from escalating, tone down the rhetoric, or wanted to de-escalate a tense situation? There are ways to address each of these types of situations. Ideas are presented here. From the book Peaceful Resolutions Chapter two focuses on The Art of De-escalation. Elements of that chapter are being offered here to help with each of these three situations.

Two caricatures of faces. One red and one blue each looking the opposite way
August 31st, 2020

This is how to overcome your conflicts

The Collaboration Effect® is all about connecting relationships, listening actively, and educating judiciously in order to build bridges to negotiate closure. This is a core statement. Although many blogs have been offered through this site relating to the application of The Collaboration Effect with the IRS, estate planning, exit planning, working with difficult people and in many other areas at my blog site, I want to take this opportunity to spend a little more time on each of these elements of The Collaboration Effect. This commentary is a little more detailed than any of the other blogs, but is still simply an introduction to the topic.

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.

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?

 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.

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.

Image of head with words such as promote, excuse, admire, evaluate, measure inside the head in multiple colors
May 18th, 2020

Here are three things great collaborators avoid

Have you ever worked for a great leader or manager? What did you like about the person? Have you ever worked for a poor leader or manager? What was it that he or she did that really gave you heartburn? Were they a micromanager? In your face? A poor listener? You can learn from great leaders and managers what to do and from poor managers and leaders what not to do. In practice what are the three biggest things to avoid as a great collaborator with others? These are: don’t be so critical, don’t worry so much about the future, and don’t make unrealistic expectations on yourself or others. Let’s take a look at each.

April 6th, 2020

When a deal breaks down with the IRS what should you do?

When a deal looks like it is lost, the perspective of both sides is to simply dig and go to the next level whatever that may be. If working with the IRS on the examination of a tax return both sides can agree to disagree. The IRS exam team finalizes the proposed adjustment and gives it to the taxpayer. The taxpayer responds with a 30-day letter. The IRS exam team writes up a response to the taxpayer’s 30-day letter response and the case is shipped off to IRS Appeals. Is there a better way?

Two drama masks of happy and sad with words imprinted on the masks
March 10th, 2020

Three signs your workplace culture is hurting you, and what you can do about it

When everyone is aligned and on the same page that feels great emotionally, mentally and physically. Is that the case with you and your organization? If it is great. This article may not be for you. If not read on. Here are three signs that that there may be issues and three ideas of what you might want to do as a result.

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