The JSE Blog

I read a statistic that the average person spends nearly 60% of their working life in the office… that’s a full third of our life! If we’re spending that much time at work, we may as well enjoy it. 

That’s what this little corner of the internet is all about. We publish upbeat and insightful pieces with business tips that run the gamut from business etiquette to creative marketing ideas, personal branding, improving professional presence, and communication tips. 

To quote my high school vice principal, it’s all “good stuff.” We hope that you enjoy reading our posts as much as we enjoy writing them… 

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Peace, Love & Good Design Work

Mar 1, 2016 | JSE Blog

On time and on budget. That’s our motto here at Jade Stone. Easier said than done? Perhaps. But as business owners (and conscientious human beings) happy clients are our goal, and we find that our clients are happiest when they’re delivered a project on time and on budget. Getting there can be a multi-faceted process. Lucky for everyone though, the first (and perhaps most important) lesson to attaining that goal was taught in kindergarten: play well with others. That’s what this month’s article is all about: how to steer clear of personality clashes and keep the project moving. While we certainly don’t advocate being a doormat, we believe that like a good design, effective conflict resolution lies in maintaining balance.

So what to do when tempers flare and fingers point? Here are a few ideas to keep your keel even and the sailing smooth:

1) Stay Calm and Carry On. During World War II, the British government started a public service cam-paign in response to Nazi air strikes. The result was the now ubiquitous KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON poster. A good piece of advice when confronted by someone who has a bee in their bonnet. As soon as our brain registers stress, it releases endorphins that incite the famous “fight or flight” reaction. At that point, we stop thinking and start reacting. Super helpful to our caveman ancestors who were pursued by the occasional sabretooth tiger; not so much to that caveman’s descendants who are now ensconced in per-fectly safe, comfortable offices. The point is, when facing a confrontation at work, fighting or running for the hills are not particularly constructive resolutions. Your best bet? Take a deep breath, and stay calm, so you can think clearly!

2) The Zen Art of Detachment. Thankfully, these days the only tantrums I deal with on a regular basis come from my three year old, but in my previous professional incarnations, I’ve had to deal with the occa-sional Banshee or two: you know, one of those startling phone calls when the person on the other end starts screaming before you even get to “Hello?” I’ve learned by studying people a great deal smarter than I am, that whatever issue the person on the other end of the phone is experiencing is not your issue. Don’t internalize it. That being said, the problem at the root of all the hollering may turn out to be your problem, but the screaming itself? Nope. Responding negatively to a negative stimulus usually only esca-lates the conflict. Let them get it out, don’t pour gas on the fire by interrupting, and try not to take it per-sonally!

3) Tell It Like It Is, Honey. Communication is the first line of defense when it comes to conflict. Being clear about deadlines and expectations up front keeps everyone on the same page and the project moving along smoothly. Don’t say “whenever you get around to it” when you really mean “by Friday.”

4) Benefit of the Doubt. Be generous with your judgements. Sometimes managing conflict can be that simple. It’s difficult to accurately gage the tone of an email, so if you receive one that is questionable, give the sender a call. If someone is snarky over the phone or in person without provocation, stop to consider that maybe they’ve had a bad day? Maybe they’re not feeling well? Maybe they’re stressed out by another project? Maybe they just got chewed out by their boss? We’ve all been there, and we’ve all taken our bad moods out on innocent bystanders. It’s OK to give people a pass sometimes. Take it in stride and move on with your day.

Very few people actually enjoy confrontation and stress- we’re hard wired as a species to gravitate physi-cally and emotionally towards homeostasis- that is, balance and peace. So, unless you’re dealing with a litigator or a reality TV star, chances are good that everyone really wants the same thing in the end: happiness and minimal stress. Or at the very least, quick resolutions to any issues that stand in the way of getting those things. Good things to keep in mind the next time you find yourself in choppy waters: stay calm and carry on!

Quote of the month…

“There is no such thing as a failed test. You will learn every time you challenge yourself.” Marsha Blackburn, American Politician.

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