Thoughts and Insights by Michael Gregory

Working with Difficult People

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.

Three silhouettes with two black and one red. Underneath are the words Conflict Management in capital letters. Conflict is larger and in red. Management is smaller and in black.
February 24th, 2020

Three Big Ideas for Conflict Management

Conflict is not all bad. Conflict is very good when focused on a well-defined problem. Conflict in this sense is necessary to bring out the best ideas. The key is to be tough on the problem and gentle on the people. There are three key elements to keep in mind when you begin to feel the tension rising, and you begin or the other party begins to take it personally. This article focuses on what you can do to help yourself and others should you feel or they begin to feel it personally. These are calm the fire, listen to understand and work collaboratively on the right problem.

Silhouettes of a man with glasses and woman conversing with each other and the scales of justice in the background
February 7th, 2020

Here are some great tips for any negotiation at work, home or with others

Here are some tips on negotiating closure whether at work, home or in life. Working on my latest book (no title yet), one chapter relates to building bridges to negotiate closure. Researching for that chapter I discovered nearly 100 blogs on negotiations that had been written over the last five years. Researching these further and narrowing them down, I wanted to share with you what I see as some pertinent topics for your consideration. Take a look at the titles and see which may resonate with you. I would love to hear back from you on these or others that you found helpful or interesting.

Tax type papers, coffee cup and calculator on a destk
January 6th, 2020

Token Concessions and Counteroffers in Negotiations with the IRS on Business Valuations

When you think of negotiations, do you think about the IRS? With all of the negatives on TV about the big bad IRS it is important to realize they are people with a job to do, and they are indeed people. As with any organization there can be zealots that are over the top. Depending on your experiences you may have met one, and that person may have set your bias on the IRS. However, the vast majority of IRS examiners are reasonable people. if you are open to resolving issues with the IRS, here are two key elements to consider. Before proceeding, reflect and remember your ethical principles and values to be true to yourself. If what you want to do is do the right thing, do what it takes and have closure these ideas can help you with the IRS. Let’s look at token concessions first.

Darth Vader with a lightsaber ready to strike
December 30th, 2019

Addressing revenge in negotiations

Most people understand each other’s positions and often the interests of each other. The hang up can instead relate to other issues such as personalities, values, history and other elements not directly related to the conflict. In these types of conflicts, the desire for revenge, getting even and even hurting the other person can be stronger than the desire to resolve the issue. There are three things to consider in these types of negotiations. These are considering interests and values separately, engaging with each other to build a positive relationship and working to reconcile differences.

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