032-Pt15- Don’t Sweat Conflict Resolution

Don’t sweat conflict resolution. Conflict is rarely resolved and typically fools us by morphing into a new form. So don’t sweat it – because you are not alone.

You are in the company of billions of people, who are stuck on the word “Resolution” as if it is the end all of a conflict.

"Working Towards Conflict Resolution" via Communication Skills, increases the opportunity of achieving Resolution.

“Working Towards Conflict Resolution” via Communication Skills, increases the opportunity of achieving Resolution.

Don’t sweat Conflict Resolution.

Don’t believe me? Well then, ask yourself, “When was the last time, I resolved a conflict?”

Still thinking? Don’t sweat it. You are working harder than you need to and it is time to give yourself a break.

What do I propose instead? Good question.

I think first, Don’t Sweat Conflict Resolution.

As it stands alone, it is insurmountable. Conflict is born of behavior. The behaviors that we bring into a conflict impact how we communicate when we are in conflict with others. So where are you going to put your hard earn time? Working towards a nearly unsolvable quest – like resolving a conflict or working on your conflict management skills which are basically:

How you communicate.

I like to begin with the 2-words “Working Towards” Conflict Resolution to qualify what my actual goal is.

Feels simple doesn’t it. And it should.

Don’t sweat Conflict Resolution, it will only bring you down every time the same conflict resurfaces again and again.

Listen along to this 12-minute episode – and I guarantee by the end you will feel as I do: Don’t Sweat Conflict Resolution.

031 – Pt14 – Give Conflict an Action

At the Bread and Puppet Circus - an outdoor scene that took place every summer in Vermont.

Can violence happen at happy, outdoor, family events like Bread and Puppet Circus? Yes. Knowing what to do and what to say can make a bad scene safe.

Conflict is an action, like a Swinging Angry Man (SAM). Try to contain SAM and he won’t be happy. What to do instead? Give SAM a doable, “safe” action.

What is a doable action? Something, that I know SAM can successfully do and help him move that anger out of his system like,

  • Walking
  • Turning
  • Stepping
  • Looking

The bonus of providing a doable action is that it creates an opening and thus an exit for SAM out of the volatile scene at hand. The last podcast was on Creating an Exit and it will provide you with great info on the power of an Exit and how to create an exit… Now back to SAM.

Instead of telling SAM to “stop swinging” I can say, “Take a step back” or “Lift your arms” Both doable actions.

or I can say my favorite phrase, “Walk with me Please.”

In this podcast episode, I discuss an epic crisis intervention that I took part in at a remote setting – read: farmer’s field. I was camped out waiting for the Bread and Puppet Circus to begin. Thousands of people use to camp out in northern Vermont for a weekend event of puppets and pageantry at the Bread and Puppet base in Glover, Vermont. I was camping with family and friends on a field when a fight broke out at a nearby encampment of circus goers.

The scene had a real potential to escalate into a fist fight or worse. I provided the parties involved with an action and made a bad scene safe. I used the “Walk with me Please” phrase and it worked like a charm.

You can read along with me via my book: Leading Chaos; An Essential Guide to Conflict Management Revised Edition 2010.  Go to page 59 and the scenario called Creating an Alliance at the Campground

Paperback link

eBook Link

Part 14-Give Conflict an Action



030-PT13 – Story – Create an Exit

Creating an Exit is like saying, “Come on along and begin anew.” It’s like a perfect pot of tea; warm and inviting. A true opportunity for new beginnings.

Everybody likes to Exit, whether it is getting off a highway or getting out of a tight spot like a bad argument. No matter how you slice it, we have all longed for an Exit at one time or another.

Everybody needs to A "Push this button to Exit." when tempers are flaring.

Everybody needs to A “Push this button to Exit.” when tempers are flaring.

Recall for a moment the last time you were in an endless argument just waiting for an exit to appear. It might not have looked pretty (someone leaves and slams the door), but exits always happen – whether good or bad.

Through my work in crisis intervention, I have learned to never, ever take a good exit for granted. I have also learned that exits aren’t one sided; “This exit is mine and that exit is yours.” When the shoes are hitting the fan, all exits are fair game, BUT some will take you upward and some will take you down. Luckily we do have a choice and can Create the perfect Exit.

Consider Creating an Exit as the key to Making a Scene Safe.

In this podcast I go over a bunch of options for “Making an unsafe scene, safe”. Yes indeed, when we Create Scene Safety we are, Creating an Exit!

Create your own Exit and download this podcast now.

The following Power Point Slide is from the Response Crisis Intervention Curriculum. Note Create an Exit is at the bottom and is taught in this curriculum as a specific skill for creating an exit for a colleague during a crisis intervention – listen to the podcast and find out how.

Response Crisis Intervention Curriculum - Make the Scene Safe ppt

Response Crisis Intervention Curriculum – Make the Scene Safe ppt


Ep29-PT12-Story-Feel Look Listen

Crisis intervention is about “staying in the beginner’s mindset” and noticing what others overlook. Learn how to use 3 key steps: Feel, Look, Listen to help you remain focused and safe.

Being in the Beginner's Mindset allows us to see beyond the mundane.

Being in the Beginner’s Mindset allows us to see beyond the mundane.

Imagine the following true life scenario: Two men were shouting and making a scene at the cafe, yet when Mrs. Temple, an octogenarian, walked up and poured her hot coffee on the big guy – both men stepped back.

This scene was not safe and Mrs. Temple was undeniably courting with danger.

Chock it up to sheer luck for Mrs. Temple.

Sometimes the uncanny works, but more often than not you will always be the smartest person on the block when you think before proceeding into danger.

In this episode we begin Chapter 4

of my book

Leading Chaos: An Essential Guide to Conflict Management 


“Is the Scene Safe?”

I am discussing how to evaluate when a Scene is Safe and when it is not.

You can assess scene safety by using these three cues –  Feel, Look, Listen

Feel, Look, Listen might seem super basic yet,  brilliant people put themselves at risk every day because we tend to make the simple complex.

The Feel, Look, Listen assessment is part of every professional

First Responder’s protocol.

See below how the Response Curriculum uses the basic first aid tools of Feel, Look, Listen to assess scene safety.

To Feel, Look and Listen is first step of Scene Safety Assessment. Power Point Slide from Response Curriculum.

To Feel, Look and Listen is the first step of Scene Safety Assessment. Power Point Slide from Response Curriculum.

Listen along and find out how you can use Feel, Look, and Listen as an assessment tools to keep yourself safe.


Ep28-PT11- Am I Safe?

Airline Safety 101 says. “Put your oxygen mask on first before assisting others.” Good idea? You bet!  It is common sense to ask “Am I safe?”. Not only will these 3-words help you secure your Personal Safety while inflight, they will also help you secure your safety when managing conflict.

Police, medical, fire, rescue, military and every other team of

First Responders follow a Personal Safety protocol.


The obvious reason is because “it works”. Sound flippant, but it is true. Imagine if all the firemen went running into the burning building without taking care of their own safety and then they had to be rescued too!

Oh dear – Right?

Ep:28-PT11- Am I safe?

After all, It serves no one to if you become unable to assist others, because you didn’t ask, “Am I safe?”

Avoid reacting and letting your emotions guide you.

Professionals “Act” in response to a crisis.

People who forsake their own personal safety, rely on those of us who think “Am I safe?” and secure personal safety first.

Yes, it is an antiquated notion to think that one should forsake their own personal safety in order to help others. So let’s move on and find out what to do after you ask, “Am I Safe?”

By asking, “Am I safe?” we set into motion the Response Protocol (find out more on the Protocol via the link to Curriculum) that not only provides leadership, but also measurable steps to create scene safety.

Here is the basic of the Personal Safety steps to take within the Response Protocol:

"Am I safe?" ~ power point slide from Response Training Programs LLC Seminar

“Am I safe?” ~ power point slide from Response Training Programs LLC Seminar

If you are not safe, how can you assist another person and help them gain safety?

Listen to this podcast episode and find out how to make yourself safe.


Ep:27-PT10-Story-Civility Works

The silver lining of using civility during a crisis intervention, is that it takes people by surprise. They don’t expect you to be gracious when you are intervening during a crisis. Thus we open the door to communication in the best of ways: by being kind and civil.

“Excuse me”, “Thank you” & “Please” are understated words that mean so much. Sure we use these words and phrases in our day-to-day interactions, but when conflict strikes civility stops.

Pt10-Story-Civility Works

Make Civility Work for you by practicing your social graces even when tempers are flaring. It won’t easy at first  saying, “Excuse me” to two people who are fighting. Initially it is counterintuitive, but over time and with practice it becomes easey peasey!

If they turn you way or shift their eyes towards you after you say “Excuse me” you can follow up with a

“Thank you for listening”

Certainly it feels better than screaming and shouting, “Stop that!” or “Hey! Cut that out.”

With a little bit of practice we can open the door to communication by letting Civility Work for us.

Here are a few phrases that we use in the Response Curriculum as a starting point for teaching Civility, Kindness and Situational Alliance.

Use short phrases that create an alliance during a crisis intervention

Use short phrases that create an alliance during a crisis intervention

Listen to the podcast and get the fuller picture for making Civility Work for you.


Ep26-PT9- Story – Pausing Time

If you could create a “Pause n Time” would you?

You bet you would!

Pausing Time, as a conflict management tool, is the topic on this episode of the Leading Chaos Podcast.

We all know that time can feel like it is passing by with lighting speed when tempers are raging and emotions are high. Is it really time that is racing or the beat of you heart?

No magical skills required for Pausing Time, other than your ability to harness Self Control. Then again, if self control is not your forte, it will indeed feel magical when you start pausing time.

I am reading from my book

Leading Chaos; An Essential Guide to Conflict Management

Go to page 48 in the book

and follow along with me as we explore a True Life Story of when

I was Pausing Time via “Self Control at a Car Accident”

Leading Chaos is learning how to make time stand still

Leading Chaos is learning how to make time stand still


Ep:25-PT8-Story-Self Control

Who is your buddy when chaos and conflict is present? Still thinking? Well look no further than your self control.

Self Control is your best friend when chaos and conflict is present, helping you stay calm, clear headed, and able to respond without animosity.

Self Control is your best friend when chaos and conflict is present, helping you stay calm, clear headed, and able to respond without animosity.

Your ability to stay focused, clear headed, calm and able to respond without animosity is priceless – For YOU and all those watching on.

This podcast episode is part 8 of an ongoing series where I am reading from my book -

Leading Chaos; An Essential Guide to Conflict Management

Please read along with me, I am on page 45.


Find 2 Key tips for garnering your Self Control.

Ep:24-PT7-Story-Drunk on Rage

Rage can be silent, simmering, or explosive behavior.  If you have witnessed or been the target of another person’s rage it is an awful experience beyond words. The same can be true when we feel rage, in that it can consume our ability to think clearly – which is also very unpleasant and thus leaves us regretting actions that we took while in a state of rage.

In this episode, I discuss a key communication response that we can do when speaking to a person exhibiting rage as I read from my book Leading Chaos; An Essential Guide to Conflict Management. In this episode I am on the third chapter which is titled Am I safe? Please do read along with me via the eBook version or the hard copy.

I teach the concept of being “Drunk on Rage” in the Response Crisis Intervention Curriculum. Rage is so very common and because it is so common we do have lots of experience and insight into rage.

Consider a person enraged to be intoxicated as if they have drunk too much alcohol.  Like an intoxicated person their ability to think clearly and hear what you are saying is greatly compromised by a very high blood/alcohol level.

Ep:24-PT7-Story-Drunk on Rage

Ep:24-PT7-Story-Drunk on Rage

They can and do not hear more than 1 or 2 words.

Listen along as I detail what to consider when speaking to a person who is Drunk on their own Rage.

In the next episode we will continue to build upon the Response Protocol for keeping ourselves safe when others are enraged.



Ep:23 – PT6 – Story- Emotional First Aid Protocol

This episode details how to create an emotional first aid protocol for managing conflict and chaos successfully.

PT6-Story- Emotional First Aid

So often we feel overwhelmed when witnessing an emotional emergency which could take place at home, at work or on the streets as one person or more, becomes upset and irrational.

On the other hand when we witness a medical emergency, bystanders get actively engaged.


Basic first aid has a very set protocol to follow and emotional first aid does not.

Let’s change that paradigm

Listen to how I married the tools used in medical first aid into the Response Curriculum and created an emotional first aid protocol.

Link to:

My book that I am reading from during this series.

In paperback, link below

Leading Chaos; An Essential Guide to Conflict Management

Get a copy as an