Thoughts and Insights by Michael Gregory


Two parties coming together and shaking hands with a map of the world behind them
March 13th, 2023

How can we build concensus within a group?

There are many benefits if parties facing a group decision reach an agreement via consensus rather than having an autocratic decision applied.  The decision tends to be accepted, the parties have bought into the decision, the decision is more likely to be carried out. If you are looking for longer lasting solutions with engaged participants, leading to less turmoil, greater stability, and less turnover, read on.

A woman and man arguing with each other
March 6th, 2023

How do highly successful people argue differently?

When you argue with someone else what would you like to have happen?  Do you argue to win? Do you argue to try and convince the other party that your view is right and theirs is wrong? What do you want to have happen as a result of this argument?  All too often these questions might be how you initiate an argument thinking you are 100% right and the other party is 100% wrong. The question is how successful is it for you to try and win the argument? Did you really convince the other person you were right, and they were wrong, or if you have the power, did you simply bully them into acceptance? Would you like to know a better way?  Read on.

A scattering of faces on a blue screen with more concentrated towards the center
February 20th, 2023

Want to build a culture of collaboration within your business?

What is collaboration versus communication?  Communication involves the sharing of ideas. Collaboration is more than communication. Collaboration involves parties working towards a common goal. If you would like to enhance your skills in this area and need to work with others to work towards a common goal, read on. The idea for this commentary came from a Forbes article entitled “4 tips for building a culture of collaboration within your business”.  This article begins with these four ideas and then I expand upon them to help you and add value going forward.

Words representing various attitudes
January 30th, 2023

Do attitudes matter in conflict resolution and negotiations?

As an experienced mediator and negotiator, I have asked myself this question. Researching it further I wanted to share with you what I have learned. Other experts in the field have offered advice too. Attitudes drive behaviors. There seems to be a consensus that yes, mental attitudes play a critical role in determining whether a mediation or a negotiation is successful. A deeper dive into the process is presented to help you and for you to help others that may be involved with self-determining mediations or negotiations.

Cover for the book Valuing Interests in S-Corps
November 7th, 2022

Business valuers, the IRS, and conflict resolution – Part 4 S-Corp issues

This is the fourth in a series of six monthly technical blogs on issues related to business valuation. Many business valuers believe that all entities whether a C-corp that is taxed or an S-corp that pays no federal income taxes should both be valued as if they pay tax (Grabowski, Mercer, Van Vleet)[i]. These business valuers believe there is no difference in the determination of fair market value. Others believe there is an S-corp adjustment to be made, but it should not be fully taxed (Fannon, Treharne)[ii]. These approaches suggest a premium for an S-corp. In general, the IRS believes that an S-corp should not be tax affected since it does not pay federal income taxes. This article looks at this issue in general. For a more complete analysis of this topic see original commentary dated Valuing Interests in S Corps (2013) or an updated and more comprehensive commentary within Business Valuations and the IRS (2018).   [i] (423-433 and 436-441)   [ii] (419-423 and 433-435)  

October 17th, 2022

What kinds of questions should good leaders ask to demonstrate listening actively?

In the book, The Collaboration Effect, is a chapter on listening actively. I believe the most important chapter in the book to address conflict, disputes, and collaboration is the chapter on listening actively. Associated with listening actively is the ability to ask good questions and good follow up questions. In the commentary that follows I offer some of the kinds of questions you may want to consider as a leader. Let me know what you think? I welcome your ideas too.

Four fists all coming together in unison from four different people
September 26th, 2022

Why is collaborative leadership replacing top-down leadership?

In our complex world that is very interconnected leadership is increasingly moving from a top-down to a more collaborative approach overcoming conflicts and disputes more readily and earlier while improving productivity, morale, and customer satisfaction. This type of leadership tends to be encouraging, listening, and understanding. Leadership tends to be empathetic, focus on buy in, and being authentic. Collective leadership results in less rework, misunderstandings, and frustration as employees are aligned with their leadership. Because leadership is allowed to shift according to who has the expertise as various needs arise, everyone knows that depending on what is needed anyone may be called upon to share what they know, and everyone is encouraged to speak up.

"words have power" having been typed by a typewriter many times on an 8 1/2" by 11" white paper
September 19th, 2022

Do you want to know how to promote collaboration with cooperative language?

In order to promote collaboration and to prevent conflicts and disputes have you ever considered the language you use to promote or not promote cooperation? This commentary explores some leadership techniques, neuroscience implications, and provides practical considerations to help you promote cooperation when working on collaborative tasks with others. It is possible to use language unintentionally that can cause friction inadvertently. Consideration of needs and feelings can go a long way to promote collaboration. Empathy may be your most significant tool in your tool box when enlisting others to collaborate with you

Stressed woman with hand to face being overwhelmed
August 22nd, 2022

Promote collaboration – yes, but to much of a good thing is not helpful

Collaboration with others often leads to better outcomes with others supplying ideas, energy, and effort. However, your desire to be a team player, to help others, and to be there for others can lead to too much collaboration and burn out. It is ok to say “no.”  You can do this diplomatically. It is necessary to say “no” sometimes. Become aware of your triggers, apply diplomatic commentary to say “no,” and keep balance in your life. That is the focus of this commentary.

Candle burning in foreground with lights in the background
August 15th, 2022

Does sympathy help during conflicts and negotiations?

Empathy puts yourself in someone else’s shoes emotionally. Sympathy by comparison is when you have feelings of pity or sorrow for someone else’s misfortune. In a dispute, conflict, or negotiation does sympathy work for or against you? You may be surprised. In this article by the Harvard Program on Negotiation they looked at five studies. What they found was that although you may have thought that sharing vulnerabilities may have caused the other side to pounce on the weakness, just the opposite was the case. Those that shared information about dealing with a difficult situation created a more mutually beneficial agreement. This commentary looks at this question a bit deeper.


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