Jamming with Jason E53: Resolving Conflicts at Work with Ken Cloke

Conflict seems like a dirty word, one most people want to avoid. Unfortunately it is a part of everyday life at work and in our personal lives, so we need to understand it and learn how to deal with conflict.

In this #jammingwithjason #internalauditpodcast episode I discuss conflict concepts with Ken Cloke from his book: Resolving Conflicts at Work: Ten Strategies for Everyone on the Job.

Ken Cloke is a world-recognized mediator, dialogue facilitator, conflict resolution systems designer, teacher, public speaker, author of numerous books and articles, and a pioneer and leader in the field of mediation and conflict resolution for the last 37 years.

Ken created the Center for Dispute Resolution in Santa Monica, CA, where he has been a mediator, arbitrator, facilitator, coach, consultant and trainer, specializing in communication, collaborative negotiation, dialogue facilitation, and resolving complex multi-party disputes, including thousands of marital, divorce, family, community, grievance and workplace disputes, collective bargaining negotiations, organizational and school conflicts, sexual harassment, discrimination, and public policy disputes; and designing preventative conflict resolution systems for public and private sector organizations.

Get your copy of Ken’s book through Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/Resolving-Conflicts-Work-Strategies-Everyone/dp/0470922249

Learn more and connect with Ken at: https://www.kencloke.com/

#conflictresolution #conflict

Transcript

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Jason Mefford: Well, Welcome everybody to another episode of jamming with Jason. Hey. Today I am very honored to have Ken cloak on with me.

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Jason Mefford: Can is the director of the Center for dispute resolution and founding president of mediators beyond borders. Now he’s a mediator arbitrator attorney coach consultant and trainer. That’s a mouthful.

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Jason Mefford: But he really focuses on negotiation, you know, dealing with difficult people resolving conflict. And so I’m glad to have can on because I know many of you deal with difficult people difficult conversations and sometimes get into conflicts, so welcome can

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Ken Cloke: Thank you, Jason.

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Jason Mefford: Now I realize we’re talking a little bit before to that we’re actually just down the street from each other to you’re in Santa Monica. I’m down in Long Beach. So we’re both in the Los Angeles area.

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Jason Mefford: But maybe you know give people just a brief synopsis because you’ve had

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Jason Mefford: A tremendous career and you’ve been around for a while. You’ve written lots of books, lots of articles, just give people a little flavor kind of for for where you’re coming from because you’re somebody they needed listen to

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Ken Cloke: Okay.

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Jason Mefford: Well, not to set you up bigger

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Ken Cloke: Very good. Well, the, the basic idea is that

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Ken Cloke: We experience conflicts from cradle to grave.

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Ken Cloke: Everybody grew up in a family in which there was conflict, they grew up in a neighborhood in which there was conflict went to school experience conflicts there have had conflicts in their personal lives with partners and spouses with kids with in the end, especially in the workplace.

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Ken Cloke: So that’s Fact number one fact number two is nobody has been trained in how to handle it.

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Ken Cloke: Or almost nobody so very few people between kindergarten and 12th grade took a class that was dedicated to conflict resolution.

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Ken Cloke: So what do we do when we face conflict. And I think the answer is we revert back either to genetic programming and the neurophysiology of the brain which fundamentally is the fight, flight, or freeze reflex.

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Ken Cloke: Or we revert back to our families of origin and what we learned from our parents and how they handled conflict which wasn’t very good necessarily either so

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Ken Cloke: And the third thing that we go to is whatever the organizational culture tells us we ought to do when we’re facing conflict.

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Ken Cloke: But the problem with organizational culture is that it has a fundamentally limited scope in terms of how we understand conflicts and what we do about them.

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Ken Cloke: So the essence of what I have been doing for the last 40 years is trying to figure out, what do we do that can actually be more successful than what we’re doing from either from any of those sources. Yeah.

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Jason Mefford: Well, and I think it’s good. It’s actually because as you were talking because I’ve been studying psychology will snow on the side for like 2025 years

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Jason Mefford: And you know it’s it’s funny that you say like that, you know, when we normally end up in conflict.

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Jason Mefford: We tend to go back to one of those kind of things right and we don’t. We won’t go down the whole ego state rabbit hole and

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Jason Mefford: You know some of the stuff on this because we want to give people some practical things but

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Jason Mefford: You know, you know, hopefully everybody that’s listening. You can think about that because conflict we usually see as a bad word. Right. It’s something like

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Jason Mefford: I don’t want to. I don’t want to have to deal with conflict. And it’s funny because like, as you said, right, that that

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Jason Mefford: You know, fight, flight, or freeze. We tend to kind of go back into that and I know for myself, personally, I don’t really like conflict and most of the time, I tend to kind of freeze and lock up

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Jason Mefford: Right. And I’m trying to work through that. I mean, again, like you said, Some of that’s, you know, familial issues and other stuff from before.

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Jason Mefford: So, you know, today, maybe we can help people just kind of help start taking some of those first steps understanding you know when they get in some of these situations. Some ways to think about it a little bit differently. So we don’t just revert back

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Jason Mefford: To what we’ve done in the past because I know for me if I just revert back to what I’ve done. It doesn’t always turn out the best for me.

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Jason Mefford: Right.

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Jason Mefford: So yeah, so let’s i think it’s it’s interesting, you know, I kind of read through some of your one of your books resolving conflict at work.

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Jason Mefford: Where you kind of go through 10 strategies and I think you kind of touched a little bit on it as you were as you were starting to but in the book, you talk about how really conflict is two sided

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Jason Mefford: Yeah, as well. Right. So I want to bring this topic up because especially you know a lot of people listening, we’re

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Jason Mefford: We’re in those roles where we’re always looking for the bad thing or the negative side of everything. And so when a word like conflict gets thrown out there.

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Jason Mefford: I think most people’s first reaction is, Oh, this is like a threat right it’s a bad thing.

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Jason Mefford: But conflict can also be that opportunity as well. Right. Can you maybe talk to that just a little bit because I think, you know, again, we want to try to reframe some of how people think about conflict because like you said we deal with it every day.

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Ken Cloke: Yeah so conflict is really two things.

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Ken Cloke: The first thing that it is. Is it is

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Ken Cloke: The we can think of it in several different ways. First of all, we can think of it as

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Ken Cloke: Any place where there are two or more truths.

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Ken Cloke: Which each of those truths thinks that it’s the only one.

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Ken Cloke: So the first piece is that there is two or more, but the second please piece is how we handle the presence of two or more truths, how we feel about it conflict is disruptive of old paradigms.

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Ken Cloke: Of old ways of doing things. It is if I can define it slightly differently. It’s the sound made by the cracks in a system.

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Ken Cloke: An organizational system, a social system, a family system.

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Ken Cloke: And so we are uncomfortable with a change with change and conflict is simply the sound of something that is telling us

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Ken Cloke: Whatever it is that we’ve been doing before.

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Ken Cloke: The ground is disappearing from underneath that thing and it’s beginning to change into something else. So if we have two truths and we assume that only one of them is the only truth.

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Ken Cloke: It’s going to be uncomfortable for us. But if on the other hand, we assume that there is some new insight that we could gain from the combination of these truths. If we could think about what the conflict is trying to tell us that we could learn from

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Ken Cloke: If it is pointing us in the direction of a set of skills that are a little bit beyond the ones that we have had up till now.

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Ken Cloke: If it is

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Ken Cloke: Showing us

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Ken Cloke: Areas where we could improve

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Ken Cloke: Then we’re going to start to think about it in a different way. So a different word that we can apply to conflict is generative conflict.

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Ken Cloke: Hmm. It is a conflict that generates some brand new way of doing things. Because if we think about a conflict is simply something that isn’t working for somebody

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Jason Mefford: Yeah. Well, and I think it’s, it’s interesting how you say that because as you were talking, you know, lots of companies talk about wanting to be innovative.

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Jason Mefford: But to truly be innovative, there has to be some differences of opinion or some conflict. Right. Yeah.

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Jason Mefford: And so I think, I think that’s where, you know, again, to try to help refrain people conflict is not always bad conflict can be a generative process like you talked about that gets us to a a better solution. Right. Yeah.

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Jason Mefford: Like you said, these, these two two or more truths. So right, you could have two people that have two different opinions about something.

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Jason Mefford: Both of them can be partially right can be right, but there could also be a third or fourth or fifth option as well. Maybe that these two people hadn’t considered to begin with. Right.

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Ken Cloke: Exactly. So, for example, even in mathematics, where there may be a single truth, like what is four plus five, the answer clearly is going to be nine

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Ken Cloke: But if on the other hand, we ask a question like what is the square root of 16

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Ken Cloke: We will get not only

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Ken Cloke: One answer, but to

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Jason Mefford: Hmm.

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Ken Cloke: In other words,

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Ken Cloke: There is four and there is minus four.

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Jason Mefford: Oh, right. There you go.

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Ken Cloke: And that’s for x squared for x cubed. There are three correct answers.

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Ken Cloke: For X quad core tick. There are four correct answers, potentially. So here’s the point of this is, the more complex things become, the more correct answers, they’re likely to be

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Ken Cloke: And if we take as an as an illustration inside any corporate organization. There’s a lot of focus on change on as you said innovation.

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Ken Cloke: Now, what are the truths with innovation. Well, the first truth is that there is something perhaps positive that is being introduced and a second truth might be there is something positive, that is being lost.

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Jason Mefford: But opportunity lost sight of it.

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Ken Cloke: Yeah, so maybe that there is something valuable in the old way of doing things. And there’s something valuable in the new way of doing things.

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Ken Cloke: So we if we approach the change process by just focusing on what’s valuable in the new way of doing things, we will lose the value in the old way of doing things. So

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Ken Cloke: A more nuanced and successful way of approaching changes to try to recapture what was good about the way that we’ve been doing it in the past and what wasn’t good. And what could the new way of doing things add to that. So we can say that change is mandatory improvement is optional.

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Jason Mefford: I like that change is mandatory right improvement is optional.

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Jason Mefford: Yeah, because there’s always going to be changed, right, there’s that whole saying the only the only constant in life is change right

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Jason Mefford: Because it does. I mean, everything

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Jason Mefford: Everything evolves and moves around us. But I think it’s interesting you know like what you said to that most of the time when conflict comes up and

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Jason Mefford: You know, again, we’re kind of talking from a corporate environment and maybe some of the kinds of things that

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Jason Mefford: You know the listeners might might find themselves in conflict with right you know an auditor goes out. They do, they do an audit, they come back with a recommendation.

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Jason Mefford: And sometimes those recommendations may be very prescriptive. Like, you must do this right. Well, obviously, the person who’s receiving that is probably thinking in their mind.

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Jason Mefford: I don’t necessarily need to do it that way. Right. So there’s are two truths that start to kind of come into this right

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Jason Mefford: Because both parties are coming at it, thinking that, you know, again, this is how I think it needs to be done so. So when you when you start getting into something like that. So there’s kind of a conflict scenario, if you will.

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Jason Mefford: How, what are some things I guess that we can do to try to flesh that out more and and not have that that conflict.

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Ken Cloke: Come up.

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Jason Mefford: You know the one I think that we just kind of talked about was realize there’s more than one right way. I think right so so if we’re, you know, providing some solution and think this is the only way you can do it. We’re going to have trouble.

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Ken Cloke: Yes. So, for example,

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Ken Cloke: Now we can think about not just a corporate environment, we can think about

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Ken Cloke: Marriages partnerships relationships families.

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Ken Cloke: Relationships with coworkers neighbors, any number of those things. So if you present the problem as

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Ken Cloke: You guys have been screwing up. So we’re going to bring in a group of Auditors to come in and tell you how badly. You’ve done things

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Ken Cloke: And to tell you how you ought to be doing them in the future. What’s the attitude going to be if we translate that into a marriage or a family. And the answer is everything about it.

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Ken Cloke: A lot

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Ken Cloke: Of course they are, because of how it’s been set up. But if on the other hand we can present it as here’s a way in which you guys could be way more successful than you’ve been up until now.

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Ken Cloke: We’re going to multiply the your success rate and give you a set of brand new skills and really support you and getting to excellence.

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Ken Cloke: And a place where you feel so good about what you’re doing.

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Ken Cloke: And where you are. So acknowledged for the positive contribution that you are making to improvement in the organization. It’s just going to be unbelievable.

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Ken Cloke: Well, that’s a whole different approach. How do we get there. So there are practical skills that can help us get there, but in the first place. The whole culture around auditing inside the organizations that I’ve worked in a lot of fortune 100 companies and fortune 50 companies, etc.

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Ken Cloke: And, you know, smaller mom and pop places plus families and relationships.

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Ken Cloke: A lot of the

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Ken Cloke: The attitude needs to get shifted and that’s a part of shifting the organizational culture, but there are some things that the auditor is themselves can do or anyone can do

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Ken Cloke: In the first place,

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Ken Cloke: To focus on the future rather than the past

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Ken Cloke: Because we can argue forever about who did what, in the past, and the only purpose of that is to fix blame and nobody wants to be blamed.

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Ken Cloke: And truthfully. It isn’t a matter of blame. It’s a matter of trying to be to pinpoint with accuracy.

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Ken Cloke: What it was that wasn’t working. And this is actually a major contribution that auditors can make to since to organizational success. A second tool is to focus on the problem as an IT rather than as a you

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Ken Cloke: As if the problem is a you what you’re going to get and virtual and this is we’re talking now about what works in marriages and families.

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Ken Cloke: As well as what works in the workplace. If you approach your partner and say,

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Ken Cloke: You did this or you are a terrible person, you’re going to get two responses. One is defensiveness, and the other is counter attack every time.

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Ken Cloke: Right, so that’s fight or flight, and we know that we’ve triggered something and it wasn’t our intention to trigger it. That’s just a question of skill.

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Ken Cloke: And being able to figure out how do we present this so that the person doesn’t feel like they’re the problem, but instead we, together we focus on the problem as you know out there.

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Ken Cloke: It’s a third thing. How do we do that. Well, if we take as an example, a common, you know, sort of accusation. Let’s say you are lazy. Okay.

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Jason Mefford: So we’ve got four times I am

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Ken Cloke: Nothing.

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Ken Cloke: Yeah, so the first thing we’ve got the pronoun you right. What if we shift the pronoun to an it. How do we do that, we say there’s a lot of work to be done. How should it be divided

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Ken Cloke: Functionally, that’s the equivalent of you are lazy, but a much more successful way of doing it. The second is the word, are you are well that’s a judgment as opposed to you. Good, or it is or

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Ken Cloke: Here’s the way we would like it to be.

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Ken Cloke: And the third thing is the word lazy, which is the insult.

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Ken Cloke: And what we can now look at is how we could reef way. This is a tool that we use in conflict resolutions called reframing reframing means looking at it slightly differently, describing it in different terms. So one of the ways that we can describe it differently.

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Ken Cloke: Is

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Ken Cloke: By identifying what we call interests. So a position is what you want an interest is the reason why you wanted

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Ken Cloke: And so I’m positions are

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Ken Cloke: You made a mistake here. No, I didn’t. Yes, you did. No, I didn’t. Yes, you did. You know, and

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Jason Mefford: You know that just keeps going on and on and on.

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Ken Cloke: Yeah, I’ll never stop. And who cares, right. It’s not going to change anything. On the other hand, I’m looking at it as, for example, now

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Ken Cloke: How do we make this person more successful. How do we assume that their goal is to look good inside the organizational culture.

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Ken Cloke: To become to get promoted or advanced within the organizational, you know, sort of system.

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Ken Cloke: Or in any event to just feel good about themselves and how they do well this is absolutely doable. But what we have to do is we have to find out.

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Ken Cloke: what their interests are in advance. So for auditors, in particular, trying to find out what it is that what are your goals here. Um, what do you want to know about what’s working and what isn’t working, creating a collaborative auditing process.

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Ken Cloke: For people buy in in advance to and help design the questions that will be asked, um, who helped actually gather the information

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Ken Cloke: So that they have an investment, it doesn’t come from the outside. It’s something we’re doing together auditing is actually not just the auditor its responsibility. It’s something everybody needs to know about from the beginning, like, you know, if you’re auditing afterwards.

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Ken Cloke: One of the things that you’re going to be picking up is what should have been done at the beginning. Right. That’s a kind of feedback loop. And that’s a collaborative process of design, how to design processes that actually work more effectively inside organizations financial processes.

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Ken Cloke: You know, all kinds of different processes within the organization. So those are a couple of things that can be done.

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Jason Mefford: And those are really good things actually to because I my, like, my mind is just going through this point right because it’s it’s nice, actually, that you kind of

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Jason Mefford: Hit on some of these topics, because I’ve been. I’ve been trying to tell my profession.

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Jason Mefford: That there’s some things we need to change right and and i think you know as you started going through talking about, you know, one of the things you were doing is what I call future pacing.

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Jason Mefford: Right where you’re actually taking people forward into the future, having them, you know, kind of think about what the future would look like.

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Jason Mefford: And focus more on the future and those future results, instead of those past mistakes as well. Right.

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Jason Mefford: Because, because again, usually as people that are in audit or some sort of an assurance function. They’re always like I said there harping on

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Jason Mefford: You know, you made a mistake in the past, you made a mistake in the past, but nobody really wants to hear that right and and that that attitude. It’s kind of a negative attitude and it’s going, that by itself is going to lead to some of the conflict.

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Jason Mefford: But we can change this around.

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Jason Mefford: You know that that you

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Jason Mefford: Are lazy is a great example that’s it sounds harsh, like you said, but but two people that were working with in a corporate environment, giving somebody a recommendation probably feels like an insult.

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Jason Mefford: Like telling somebody you are lazy right and so take out the word you guess because we can try to, you know, come up with with something else.

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Jason Mefford: And and try to reframe it so maybe if you can talk a little bit more about reframing because I think that’s an important part of kind of changing the communication. Right.

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Ken Cloke: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. So we can think of this on a lot of different levels.

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Ken Cloke: Let me just give a simple example.

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Ken Cloke: Maybe a family example of, of how we can think about doing this.

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Ken Cloke: I don’t know if you I know that you were talking before you have a son, you know, and so a lot of people have teenagers probably everybody in your call can read can remember being a teenager.

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Ken Cloke: And teenagers have conflicts with their parents. So if we take an example of that conflict and we say curfew as an example. Well, what is what’s the conversation after curfew.

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Ken Cloke: And the answer is going to be number one. I’m yelling and screaming

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Ken Cloke: A accusations insults none of that’s going to do anything for anybody except drive people further apart.

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Ken Cloke: The second is, if we go back to the word lazy for a second. We can see and then we’ll go. We’ll come back to curfew. We go back to the word lazy, we can see that there are three ways of saying it fundamentally one is as an accusation, you are lazy to is as a confession

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Ken Cloke: Which is, I’m working really hard here.

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Ken Cloke: And I see that you’re not helping. And that makes me feel like you don’t respect me or the work that I’m doing. And when I see you taking time off. I like to take time off, too. So I’m jealous.

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Ken Cloke: And

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Ken Cloke: I’m also my feelings are hurt because it’s

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Ken Cloke: The third form. So this accusation. There’s confession and beneath bows. There is a request.

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Ken Cloke: Every accusation can be seen as a request the request and you are lazy is can you give me a hand.

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Ken Cloke: It’s all you are lazy means. It means, can you give me a hand plus

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Ken Cloke: I’m having a strong emotional reaction to this and I’m a little ticked off about the way that you’ve been behaving.

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Ken Cloke: So I’m going to turn, can you give me a hand here into an accusation. So you will understand that I’m getting emotional actually plugged in here.

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Ken Cloke: I’m getting angry and frustrated about this. And that’s what you are lazy actually is. It’s the combination of the request or the confession with

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Ken Cloke: The dire.

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Ken Cloke: Some how to communicate how we’re feeling. So now back to the

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Curfew

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Ken Cloke: In the curfew example, you’ve got the teenager and the parent yelling at each other that’s going nowhere. So what happens mom or dad steps in and says, you’re going to be home by 10 o’clock or else

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Ken Cloke: And that’s the typical management approach to solving the problem management gives a direction. All you have to do is know what the boss wants and you’re, you’re done. But that’s going to work for a while, but it’s not going to work with a 16 year old.

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Ken Cloke: And it doesn’t work in the workplace with any employee who’s got any intelligence or, you know, desire to have a voice in how they work, or anything else. It’s just, it’s not a successful strategy, except it stops the conflict.

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Jason Mefford: So that’s probably why people will that that’s probably one reason why we tend to go back to those things, right, because

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Jason Mefford: It’s easier to just say I’m the boss. Do it. Or I’m the parent, you must be home at 10 o’clock instead of actually dealing with the underlying conflict, it’s harder to do that.

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Jason Mefford: Yeah, it takes more work.

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Ken Cloke: So the second step. And then the next step after this one I guess is the third step now is the teenager says, I want to be home by 2am

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Ken Cloke: And now you’ve got a negotiation and but that’s a step forward from you’re going to be home by 10 o’clock or else now it’s a conversation. It’s a relationship.

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Ken Cloke: It’s much more complicated, but it is more complicated and that. And so the process, the conversation matches how complicated. The problem is, and now we can get even more complicated and we could say, why do you want me home at 10pm.

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Ken Cloke: And why do you want to be home at 2am that’s interests and that’s the reframe is when we go to the why question and now with the parent is going to say when you ask why 10pm, they’re going to say, safety and say why 2am the teenager is going to say fun being with my friend right

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Jason Mefford: Is it yeah and that’s and that’s one of those though we’re now at least since you’ve asked some of those questions. Now you have kind of these

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Jason Mefford: These barriers. If you’ve earned that boundaries, I guess, right. So, so now you can start to actually negotiate work through that conflict by discussing and saying,

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Jason Mefford: Okay well on school nights, maybe 10 o’clock is a better thing. So let’s say hey on on school nights be home by by this. Maybe if there’s certain times a Friday, Saturday, or if there’s something you know in particular that you want to do, then we’ll just we’ll say okay 2am is fine.

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Ken Cloke: Yeah, these nights. Right. Yeah. So I think that’s exactly right. But notice what’s happened. Notice the difference between yelling and screaming. You’re saying 10pm, or else

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Ken Cloke: The, you know, just sort of the straight negotiation without any understanding of interest between 10pm and 2am

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Ken Cloke: And now the conversation that you’re describing, which is okay. How about if we look for a solution that satisfies your interests and my interests. That’s a higher level of relationship.

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Ken Cloke: A higher level of skill. I’m a and it permits a higher level of problem solving, because you’re able to come up with a more complex set of solutions to the problems.

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Ken Cloke: So if we go back to two to 10pm, or else that’s just not a very successful way of solving a problem and auditing people are in involved in trying to find more successful ways of solving problems. That’s really what I how I understand your question.

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Ken Cloke: So we can keep on getting better and better at doing that.

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Jason Mefford: Well, and I think it’s interesting because, you know, as you said, like when we talked about guess. Here’s my here’s to to real world kind of experiences, right, that people can

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Jason Mefford: Can learn from and now go back in their, in their day you know they’re on their whole life, but their day job and their personal life.

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Jason Mefford: And start to think about because as you were talking about, you know, lazy that word being either an accusation a confession or request, right, and sometimes a combination of those

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Jason Mefford: The thought that kind of popped in my mind that I just want to, you know, kind of double check with you. There’s probably no need for the accusation to begin with.

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Jason Mefford: Yeah, right. I mean, if we could

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Jason Mefford: So there’s there’s one kind of practical tip is if we can just remove the accusation out of it completely right.

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Jason Mefford: Yeah, you know, because like that. Let’s say the teenager. Maybe you’ve, you’ve already agreed to or set the curfew at 10 o’clock.

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Jason Mefford: And if this, you know, the teenager walks in at 11 o’clock or 2AM. Then again, because of the emotion, the parents feeling. They’re scared they’re wondering what’s going on. They’re worried about their safety thinking oh they’re dead in some ditch somewhere right

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Jason Mefford: Yeah, so there, they’ve got all these pent up emotions that are going on. So when the kid walks through the door.

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Jason Mefford: They probably do start yelling at him and, you know, doing stuff right

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Jason Mefford: I say him because you know girls would never do this right

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Jason Mefford: Guys, but, you know, if we

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Jason Mefford: If we kind of remove that and then start to ask some of the better better questions. Right. And I think to and in asking because one of the

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Jason Mefford: One of the things I like to say is I’m curious why you would say that

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Jason Mefford: Or I’m curious of whatever right that that’s kind of a simple way to start that discussion. Right. So again, my parents say 10 O’clock teenager says two o’clock. Well, I’m curious why you think two o’clock would be appropriate. That’s going to start to get down into these interests. Right.

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Ken Cloke: Exactly right. And

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Jason Mefford: Instead of the necessary positions on where you’re at, okay, well, maybe there is a good reason why right

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Jason Mefford: And so kind of back to our auditing thing, you know, it almost becomes that same kind of a juggle back and forth, you know we we found a lot of bada bada bada we we recommend that you do this you know 10 o’clock and the manager in the array goes no two o’clock.

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Jason Mefford: And we’re like, no 10 o’clock. No two o’clock right and if we just continue to not have the conversation.

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Jason Mefford: Because, because I found this a lot in my career, you know, sometimes when we make a recommendation or do something like that when you actually stop and listen to the other to the manager. The other person you’re dealing with. They usually had a really good reason.

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Ken Cloke: Mm hmm.

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Jason Mefford: You know, and it’s like we can at least find a middle ground. If not, hey, you know what, maybe our you know tunnel vision in this area is not the right one to have remember two or more truth.

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Jason Mefford: That we both think are correct, but but but both may be correct or both may be wrong route until we start having that discussion.

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Ken Cloke: Yeah, if we think about

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Ken Cloke: The problems that are faced in most organizations are complex.

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Ken Cloke: And if you create if you have a complex problem and organizations themselves are complex, just like relationships are in families are complex. So if you think about what will happen predictively. If you have a complex problem and you try to address it using a simplistic method.

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Ken Cloke: What you. What can you predict the outcome will be. And the answer is, people are going to get upset because some aspect of the problem hasn’t been considered

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Ken Cloke: Yeah, and your solution will not be as successful. And so that’s one piece of it. A second piece of it is a part of the complexity.

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Ken Cloke: Is the emotional response that people have to the way that the problem is addressed what the problem means to them at an emotional level and auditors, in my experience, have not been trained well in handling emotionally intense conversations

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Ken Cloke: I did. That’s why I’ve been talking about emotional intelligence.

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Jason Mefford: That has to be brought into it because it’s

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Jason Mefford: It’s hard to have these conversations and communicate that way if you’re

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Jason Mefford: Not thinking about it or realizing that 90% of what we do is emotion based

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Ken Cloke: Yeah i i don’t i worked for a while with a auditing group inside a major fortune 100 entertainment company.

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Ken Cloke: And work with the auditors for probably a couple of years. And one of the things that I noticed that happened was,

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Ken Cloke: Because of the way that they were perceived by everybody else inside the organization. It gave rise to a kind of defensiveness so that the auditors came into the conversation already feeling defensive about what they did and feeling prickly and anticipating

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Ken Cloke: Negative negativity.

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Ken Cloke: And therefore, you know, everybody else would sort of perceive them as coming in, you know,

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Ken Cloke: As it kind of emotionally closed off not particularly available for conversation. Now, this doesn’t mean that you adopt a, you know, sort of emotional attitude towards mathematics. Right.

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Jason Mefford: I’m really sad that four plus four is a right

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Ken Cloke: So that’s not going to help you solve that problem and a lot of auditing. It consists of logical sequential rational, you know, analytical types of functions and auditors, in my experience, tend to be really good.

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Ken Cloke: At that form of thinking. We’ve got two hemispheres of the brain. And that’s a lot of real estate to devote to emotion. If it isn’t particularly useful.

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Ken Cloke: Yeah. But it turns out that it really is useful because we live in societies and a lot of what emotional intelligence is about

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Ken Cloke: Is monitoring our relationships with others and figuring out how to make those relationships successful and successful means collaborative

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Ken Cloke: And what that means is asking questions is, you are exactly as you were saying, trying to find out what’s going on for somebody else what their needs are. Why this is important to them.

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Ken Cloke: So every one of your listeners can go turn to their spouse or their kid next in their next argument and just say, Why do you feel so strongly about this issue. What does it mean to you, why does it matter.

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Ken Cloke: Tell me what’s really going on for you.

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Jason Mefford: Okay, those are great questions. So everybody, pause, rewind. Listen to that again write them down.

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Jason Mefford: Yeah, those are golden questions.

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Ken Cloke: Yeah, here’s another one that’s really useful that I’ve worked with the auditors on

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Ken Cloke: What is one thing that we can do in the auditing department.

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Ken Cloke: That would be beneficial to you.

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Ken Cloke: That would strengthen our ability to support you in the work that you’re doing. But there’s one thing we could do or address

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Ken Cloke: Now, if you start with that question. People are going to start to say, oh, you know what, maybe there really is something

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Ken Cloke: And what turned out in the organization that I was working in with the auditors was they were actually able to make the organization, much more successful.

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Ken Cloke: By collaborating with the people that they were working with to design in advance, things that would be much more successful with their customers, they could actually produce reports.

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Ken Cloke: In advance that could be useful for the customer, and especially for the team that was. I mean, not, not only in marketing and sales, but in production, and a whole series of different areas, the auditors actually were able to be a kind of

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Ken Cloke: A source of insight in the organization into what wasn’t working as well as it could. And when you present it that way, all of a sudden it becomes a completely different attitude and relationship. Well, it does. And it’s it’s it’s funny.

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Jason Mefford: You know, because we’ve talked about identifying their interests, a few times.

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Jason Mefford: And I think, you know, another word that people can substitute for interest is objectives.

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Jason Mefford: Or goals. Right. And so again, I’ve been trying to get people to think about that too because like you said when you go back to

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Jason Mefford: That group that you’re working with. And try to identify their interests, identify what their objectives are, how can we help you better

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Jason Mefford: Achieve those particular objectives. Why do you need to achieve those objectives, you know, what are the things that are that are getting in the way. Right, that that may be or are a pain. Is there, is there a way that we could maybe look at that and help through that.

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Jason Mefford: Right. And I know like you said you work with that team, you know, for a while and it’d be nice if we could go, you know, snap our fingers and poof, everything changes right but

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Jason Mefford: We talked a little bit about the organizational, you know, kind of system and culture and structures that

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Jason Mefford: If we’re working in a place where we feel a little defensive as people an audit, because that’s just kind of how we’re perceived, it’s going to take a little bit of time, you know, doing this over and over again for people to actually believe us, and trust us and want to ask for help.

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Jason Mefford: You know as well because you’ve actually got to show it, you know, words are not enough. You’ve actually got to show it. So, so that’s the important thing too is, I love that question. You know what, you know, what’s the one thing that we can do.

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Ken Cloke: To help you well.

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Jason Mefford: When people give you that feedback you better do something about it.

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Jason Mefford: If he had don’t next time you ask

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Jason Mefford: You’re not going to get an answer.

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Ken Cloke: Yeah, very good, very good. Yeah, another question might be, what do you see as your mission in this part of the organization and how could auditing help you achieve that your goals, your mission, etc. Another piece of this, what I did in the organization that I worked with

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Ken Cloke: Or what what what they did. As a result of this work that we did together was they found the areas of the organization that they were having the most difficulty with

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Ken Cloke: And they then embedded auditors into those areas of the organization where they worked for a month, you know, three months, whatever it was that they decided on and

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Ken Cloke: Vice versa, they had people from that other part of the organization come into auditing as advisors to auditing on how they could improve their relationship.

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Ken Cloke: And this was really magical. There was a lot of cross fertilization that took place, everybody learned a lot from the experience and they formed a really close tight relationship with each other. So what they did was they created client focused teams that included auditors on every team.

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Ken Cloke: That was focused on a particular client or customer

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Ken Cloke: The auditor, was a member of that team.

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Ken Cloke: Yeah.

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Jason Mefford: I was just because I think that’s great. It actually goes back to one of the strategies that you talked about in the book. Right. Listen empathetically you know and responsibly.

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Jason Mefford: If if actually doing that where you’re having these kind of short rotation side.

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Jason Mefford: So you’re sitting in their chair you understand a little bit more about what it, what it takes, or what it is to do what they need to do.

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Jason Mefford: It makes that communication so much easier the more empathetic, you are, which happens to you know relate to emotion to like we’re talking about before. Right.

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Jason Mefford: Yeah. Wow, good stuff.

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Ken Cloke: Good stuff. Yeah.

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Jason Mefford: Holy smokes. Good stuff. Well, hey, I

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Jason Mefford: Don’t want to hog your time. I could sit here and talk to you for hours.

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Jason Mefford: But I know you got other things that you gotta, you gotta get done to but

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Jason Mefford: Hey, I really appreciate you, you know, going through and sharing this because, you know, like you said, conflict. I think for most people kind of seems like a negative word. Yeah. And if we can change our perspective about it and realize, you know,

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Jason Mefford: I love that separate. How did you say that separating

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Jason Mefford: separating it out so it’s it’s it’s an it right kind of a thing is is a great thing because I think so much of the time we take things personally

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Jason Mefford: And the more we can kind of separate that and just actually focus on the interest in what’s really important, then we can we can reduce that conflict and actually develop in strengthen those relationships which we need to have

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Ken Cloke: Yeah, yeah. And the truth is,

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Ken Cloke: They don’t even know us well enough to

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Ken Cloke: You know, sort of intentionally insult us

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Ken Cloke: become defensive about it when we don’t have to. Yeah. And that triggers a cycle of blame and

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Ken Cloke: counter attack that is completely unnecessary. So if we can stop taking it personally and realize that we lose effectiveness. When we do that,

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Ken Cloke: And it isn’t even really what they what they mean. Nobody’s thinking about us. They’re just thinking about themselves.

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Jason Mefford: That’s one of life’s lessons right there. Right.

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Jason Mefford: Now is is we think everybody’s, you know, worried and thinking about us and all this kind of stuff. They’re not

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Jason Mefford: So just let it go right kind of a deal. Wow, well can. Thank you. Thank you so much. You have any, any final you know parting bits of wisdom, I guess, to kind of wrap this up that we haven’t talked about them to make sure that

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Jason Mefford: Yeah, you’ve already given a lot of questions and things people can actually go back and put into practice. But how would you like to wrap up.

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Ken Cloke: I would say two things. The first is, I’ve been doing this for 40 years now.

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Ken Cloke: And I have yet to hit bottom

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Ken Cloke: This is really exciting stuff. And there’s a lot of learning that goes on. It’s continuous learning

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Ken Cloke: And skill improvement. And the second thing is that about 100% of the people who come to see me are totally and completely stuck.

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Ken Cloke: And out of that hundred percent are totally can completely stuck about 95 to 98% end up becoming unstuck.

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Ken Cloke: Well that’s pretty massive and out of the 95 to 98% who become unstuck about another 98% of that 98% have no problems enforcing their agreements, even though I’m not the judge of the cop who stand or the manager is standing over them.

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Ken Cloke: Why well the answer is because this really is what works at a human level. And so I just want to encourage your listeners to

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Ken Cloke: Try this stuff out. If you want, go to my website. There are a lot of resources there it’s WWW dot Ken club com or just look up conflict resolution will try to learn a little about it. If there’s one book you want to read. I think it’s getting to yes by Roger Fisher, in theory,

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Jason Mefford: I have that on my shelf over here. Hey,

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Ken Cloke: It’s a great little book and lots of fundamental, you know, sort of ideas in it, but there are hundreds of books.

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Ken Cloke: That have been written about this topic. And I’ve written a few of them. So I just want to recommend that your readers listeners really continue to to look at this and learn from their conflicts.

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Jason Mefford: Well, because like you said, this is one of those where it’s a continuous. It’s a lifelong learning, kind of thing, right, I mean,

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Jason Mefford: No matter how long we live, we’re never going to be, you know, perfect all the time. There’s always going to be some conflict that comes up always some things that we learn

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Jason Mefford: But like you said, you know, most of the people that actually try it and implement some of these principles like we’ve been talking about. They get unstuck.

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Ken Cloke: Yeah.

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Jason Mefford: They don’t have as many conflicts, as everybody else does, right. So,

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Jason Mefford: Actually learning it

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Jason Mefford: Practicing it you know and and to realize, again, it’s, it’s a long term process. You’re not going to do it right the first time.

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Jason Mefford: But if you learn and you improve and get better each time they just gets better and better and better and having a lot less conflict in your life means a lot less stress.

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Jason Mefford: As well. Right. So yeah, it’s, it’s a great thing to have. So yeah, everybody. Make sure you know can refer to book.

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Jason Mefford: Getting to Yes from Fisher. That’s a great book I’ve read that a few times myself.

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Jason Mefford: And check out Ken’s books, you know, I read through a lot of the resolving conflict at work great book. It actually gives you 10 strategies to kind of think about it in the workplace environment.

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Jason Mefford: go to his website can club com in really just try to figure out, because we want to resolve conflict, we want to reduce conflict.

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Jason Mefford: And if you really want to, you know, kind of take internal audit to the next level at your organization. Take your career and your personal life to the next level, we’ve really got to get comfortable with in dealing with conflict, instead of, you know, freezing up or running away from it.

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Ken Cloke: Well said. Jason

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Jason Mefford: Well, thank you.

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Jason Mefford: Well can thanks again and Hey everybody. Have a great rest of your week and I’ll catch you on the next episode of jammin with Jason, so yeah.

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