Clarifying the message

Mar 1, 2012

It’s March 1. Two months ago I arrived at my new home in DC. So much has happened since. I have enjoyed getting to know the city. I feel at home in the intensity and people’s level of involvement with world matters.

I am inspired.

I have met with many people involved with social justice, peace building, conflict resolution, higher education, coaching and training. This has given me the opportunity to learn the ropes, gather necessary information and create important allies. Most important, it has helped me to strengthen my message and clarify how Respectful Confrontation is different and unique from other systems that foster peace and collaboration.

I am so moved by the diversity and abundance of course offerings and methods that have been developed to build a culture of respect, understanding, and lasting peace. While the motivation and core of all these systems may be similar, each one offers a unique piece of the puzzle necessary to truly bring about lasting change.

Recently, while talking to one of the course programmers at Johns Hopkins University, I was asked how my work is different from other conflict resolution methods, like Crucial Conversations.

Here is the response I wrote to his question:

You bring up an interesting question with the difference between my work (RC) and Crucial Conversations (CC). Honestly I know only a bit about CC. But upon reviewing it, I think I have an idea. I will say the same thing I usually say when people ask me the difference between my work and Non-Violent Communication (NVC).

I believe that both CC and NVC offer an amazing and clear language and way of speaking to address difficult situations. Both emphasize conversations and discussion and speaking.

My approach goes into the physical exploration of engagement and human interaction. Where the other two use words to resolve conflict and succeed in getting your point across, I offer a number of techniques to develop more power, centeredness, presence and agility in the body as well as in the mind to best stand in your power and speak your truth in challenging situations. I use martial arts as a metaphor for communicating and interacting with courage, respect and skill. The book and training is filled with simple, practical exercises to help master these skills and gain unwavering self-confidence.

While many trainings focus either on “left-brain” learning or “right-brain” learning, RC offers a fun and dynamic synthesis of the two, bringing you more into balance and allowing you to make better use of all of your skills, knowledge and talents.

I often see that even though someone may have the right “lingo”, they are still lacking certain skills, self-esteem and self-knowledge that would make them truly equipped to take more risks, both professionally and personally. I believe RC provides this foundation. Confrontation includes not only difficult conversations, but also the process of looking within to confront various aspects of ourselves and also confronting the obstacles that get in the way of our freedom, happiness and success.

My approach is broken into four parts:

1) The Practice of Developing the Respectful Self,

2) The Practice of Respectful Engagement,

3) The Practice of Respectful Offense, and

4) The Practice of Respectful Defense.

The third and fourth parts come closest to CC and NVC where you learn actual techniques of how to most effectively speak your truth and subsequently navigate all the reactive behavior and both conscious and unconscious strategies one will use to avoid resolving a problem, or collaborating.

The fist two parts of my approach focus more on how each one of us can 1) become more self-aware, more present and tap into our authentic and powerful self and 2) truly feel what it is to make contact with someone and know what authentic engagement feels like. Our greatest leaders are often acknowledged for their high level of presence/charisma and on their ability to connect with others and make them feel welcome, appreciated or seen. This is the foundation of a strong leader and I find that these steps are often skipped in many of the communication models.

RC reframes three basic paradigms that have shaped how we govern, how we do business and how we relate to others: True Power vs. Brute Force, Confrontation vs. Conflict, and Assertiveness vs. Aggression. RC offers a new way to stand in your power that doesn’t lead to brute force. After working with companies around the world, I am seeing the desire from leaders to learn practices and tools to lead a company and engage with others in a way that allows you to tap into your true power with respect and honor for others. By doing this, you call out the True Power of others, leading to greater productivity in the workplace and a creative, empowered work environment.

I am so grateful that communication models like CC and NVC are around to shift the business and judicial climate with ways to speak truth. My hope with RC is to train a new generation of leaders who understand that vulnerability and transparency are the most effective way to motivate and empower others. When I feel empowered, I will naturally want to empower those around me, leading to higher levels of problem solving, new innovations and collaboration, raised profit, less miscommunication and a culture that aspires to win-win strategies.

Let me know if this is helpful. I am grateful for the opportunity to get more specific on what RC is and what I have to offer.

Thanks

Joe

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