Workplace Communication with Karen Pelot
In this episode, I get the chance to speak with Karen Pelot of Perspectives, LLC about her experience working with conflict mediation and the different mindsets that people enter when in a confrontation. Thanks for watching! Feel free to watch the podcast in video form or read through the transcript. Enjoy!
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Justin: Hey, thanks for tuning in. I’m Justin Collier. Today on the show we have a very interesting guest, Karen Pelot of Perspectives LLC. Karen specializes in conflict resolution within organizations, and today we talk a little bit about the different mindsets you can enter into to reinforce more collaboration, more cooperation with your peers, or with leadership within a corporation. I think it was a very, very informative show today, and I really hope you enjoy it.
Justin: Karen, thanks for coming.
Karen: Thank you.
Justin: I really appreciate having you here. Let’s first maybe start by introducing who Karen Pelot is to the audience who’s listening. You’re the founder of Perspectives.
Karen: I am.
Justin: Perspectives, LLC? How do you go?
Karen: Perspectives. I mean, you know, legally the LLC has to be there on written documentations …
Justin: Totally understand.
Karen: … but Perspectives.
Justin: Awesome. Website url, perspectivesllc.com.
Karen: There you go.
Justin: Awesome. You are a mediator, a facilitator, a coach, a trainer. You’re also a public speaker as well too. You do a lot of things. It probably makes it really hard to give a really good elevator pitch. Have you thought about your elevator pitch before? How do you explain what you do to somebody when you only have a few minutes to really explain it?
Karen: I try not to really explain it.
Justin: Oh. You like the ambiguous route?
Karen: I try to sort of give a hook, right? The end result of what I do is help clients’ professional organizations promote engagement, reduce and resolve conflict, and instill accountability for behaviors and results in the workplace. That’s what I do, right?
Karen: I don’t really necessarily tell how I do it, does that make sense?
Justin: Totally understand that. Ultimately, at the end of the day, you don’t want to give away your secret sauce.
Karen: Or even start explaining, “Well, I do coaching, and I do …” Because then people are like, gone.
Justin: Do you have a certain one of these that you lead with, as far as, “My main specialty is public speaking? My main specialty is mediation?”
Karen: Hm-mmm (negative). No, not really. When I’m talking I usually lead with the conflict aspect though.
Justin: You lead with the conflict aspect?
Justin: You would tell someone, when there is conflict in some organization, someone brings me in and then … Even if you don’t tell them in the elevator pitch exactly how you go about doing that, how do you go about doing that?
Karen: Well, it depends on what the issue is. Depends on what the client’s need is. Tuesday I spoke. I gave a presentation on mindset awareness, and understanding benefits and detriments of which kind of mindset you’re in. I got invited to do that because I had, Perspectives had given a workshop for one of the executives that was going to be there, so I got recommended to come. It was all human resource executives. That was just a download of information. Mixed bag of people. They all signed up to come. It wasn’t tackling any particular issue for anyone. It was just helping raise general awareness. Maybe they can take something back to their lives. There’s that.
Karen: Then the other side of what I do is more specific to your need. If a business leader calls me and says, We’re experiencing …, we’re having high turnover, I’ve got this one leader that’s just abrasive. Whatever it is. Can you help? Well intuitively, of course I can help. It’s what I do. It’s absolutely what I do. But I have to dive deeper into what’s really going on and what’s really your goal. Once we know what the goal is, the remedy might be a mediation between this person who’s abrasive and the person that they’re particularly offending, to help them develop some new behaviors. It might be coaching for that individual. If there’s a whole team dynamic involved where it’s kind of a hostile, or hostile is a big word, but it’s a negative environment, a negative vibe that’s detrimental to productivity within a whole work group, then it might be working one on one with the leadership, but then also giving training to the whole group to give everyone a shared learning experience and bring everybody along in the same time.
Karen: It really is, it depends on what the need is.
Justin: Totally. It’s really not like a one size fits all.
Karen: It is not.
Justin: When you come in, so part of what the services offer are diagnosing what the actual issue is. Is this as simple as you coming in and interviewing everybody and you feel intuitively, or do you have some sort of system about diagnosing what the problem is the way a doctor would?
Karen: Yeah. There’s a bit of a system. I have a format of questions that if I’m interviewing a group of people. Say there’s a team of 12, and they’re trying to figure out where things are going sideways. They’ve had two different leaders, same problems, same group. I’ll come in and interview people one on one. I’ll ask everyone the same questions.
Justin: What sort of questions would you ask? Give me a flavor. Oh, you can’t even give me one-
Karen: Oh yeah, I can. I can. You know what? The question that will have somebody talk for an hour? Tell me what’s going on.
Justin: Mmm. Fair enough, yeah.
Karen: Tell me, that’s how I open it up. You know me, I’m the confidential neutral. I’m not going to tell anyone what you tell me. What I’m going to do is pull themes out of what everyone tells me, so that I can figure out what’s the commonality in where things are going sideways.
Justin: It’s also when you say something like, hey what’s going on, you’re eliciting a story out of the other person.
Karen: Their story.
Justin: It’s sufficiently vague enough that they know what you’re getting at, but they say hey, you know what, I’m here. I’m just trying to do my job. I feel like I’m doing everything right, but I feel like there’s this force coming in, whether it’s leadership or whether it’s this other employee that’s antagonistic to me in some way that’s preventing us from collaborating.
Justin: I do really like that questions. It’s simple enough, yeah.
Karen: It’s a great question. Once you preface that conversation with, this is confidential, I’ve been paid to hear your story, so give me your story. I’m going to be much more effective for your group if I understand your story. It is amazing how quickly people will just open up and lay it on the table. Then when they do, it very quickly, after the third person that I interview, the commonalities have started rising up. Then the next six or seven people validate if these are actually the core.
Justin: Yeah, that’s what is really, you must be hearing these stories, and they say there’s two sides to every story. Do these stories come off especially biased to you, or do they come off as largely genuine, but there’s just some sort of miscommunication, or is it some blend of both? How do they feel? When you’re listening, are you like, no, no, no, no, no. You’re hiding things. You’re not telling me the whole thing? How does it feel most of the time? How transparent do you feel like these people are being at first?
Karen: Most people are quite transparent.
Justin: Oh really? That’s great.
Karen: Most people, but if there’s an organization of 15 people, there’ll be one or two that their trust is so broken that they can’t trust my confidentiality either. It’s obvious that they’re being guarded in the wording that they’re using, and how they’re doing it.
Justin: Is that lack of trust coming from something, it dodges them maybe in their personal life, or are they maybe being beaten down in the corporate workplace that they can’t trust you, because you’re still part of the system that’s not working? Is that even hard to tell?
Karen: In that initial conversation, my assumption is, it’s related to work, generally. They know, we’re in work mode. I’m here about your work. We all know there’s problems. Tell me what’s going on at work. I don’t want to know what’s going on in their personal life, quite frankly.
Justin: Awesome, awesome. I really want to, because you do cover so much and you’ve got a wide range of talents, I want to just, as much as we can, just pick up a few flavors here and there. You mentioned something already. You mentioned speaking on mindset awareness. Can you give me a little flavor of what that means and what you speak about?
Karen: Yeah, sure. Tuesday, I gave a talk on what’s on your mind. It’s called, little plug, is it propelling you or derailing you? Because it is. The first part of that we walk through the science of how our minds process information. Out of all the bazillion data points that we could focus on, our mind selects for us what to focus on. All the time, day in and day out. Once it selects that, it organizes it. It puts that in some kind of sequential order for us. It’s why there are two sides to every story. It’s not because one person is being dishonest, it’s because we really remember it differently, depending on our map of the world.
Justin: Like choosing what to focus on?
Karen: Our minds automatically select, organize, and then interpret.
Justin: Select, organize, and interpret.
Karen: Then interpret. Automatically, all the time, 24-7, without us asking it to do it. We can prime ourselves for what we’re going to focus on, like I’m focusing on you right now instead of the pattern on the wall over there, of the wine bottle corks?
Karen: Yeah, okay. If you think about ADD on the biggest steroids you can imagine, if our mind didn’t do this for us all the time, it would be chaos all the time in our heads, in our lives, in our worlds. We automatically something that will have our attention, that we’ll become aware of. Then we organize it. When we organize it, we put some structure to it. We put it in some kind of sequential order, almost, which is not adequate language to describe it. For example, have you ever been in an argument?
Justin: Yeah, I’ve been in an argument or two. If I think back really hard I can imagine that.
Karen: Have you, if you think back, good, because that makes you really normal. Not that you’re not extraordinary in other ways, but it makes you normal that you’ve been in arguments. The last argument you were in, who started it?
Justin: I’m sure, I’m sure I want to believe that they started it in some way, but-
Karen: Wait, don’t rationalize. That’s your go to. Who started it.
Justin: Oh, I can’t actually think of an actual argument.
Karen: You already said it. They did.
Justin: The answer’s they did. Yeah.
Karen: Over and over, the answer is they did. It is always they did. It’s not that that’s not true. It’s not that you’re lying or trying to be deceitful in how you recall the sequence of events or how it happened, that’s how your mind structures it for you, right?
Karen: Two things can equally be true.
Justin: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Certainly, certainly. I imagine most arguments, they escalate and … there would be, chaos emerges out on an argument. Everything would have remained in order if the other person hadn’t had said that one thing that triggered the argument.
Karen: That triggered you. Yeah, that triggered you.
Justin: Yeah, exactly.
Karen: Yeah, how did you just describe that? Chaos comes.
Justin: Chaos comes out of it.
Karen: Chaos comes out of it. Do you know why that happens?
Justin: No, tell me why.
Karen: Because when your emotions are heightened, negative emotions, and your amygdala is tripped, it makes smart people stupid. It literally disconnects your brain, and your rational ability, and your logical reasoning ability, from your heart. You’re in this erratic path right now, and it literally makes you stupid. When you think back to your argument, and you relive it later, do you do better with your side of the argument when you think about it later?
Justin: When I think about most arguments later, doing better is a weird way to put it. I like to think that I’m-
Karen: Are you more effective? Are you more effective in how this dialogue goes?
Justin: I’m certainly able to be more empathetic with the person I was arguing with, and see their side.
Karen: Alright. What about when you literally think about, she said this and I said that and she said this and I said that? When you relive it, do you do it a little differently? Do you say it a little differently? When you’re in the shower, and this argument comes up, and you’re reliving it, it’s probably not a transcript of what happened in the moment.
Justin: I see what you’re saying now. What you’re saying is, you’re almost, in many ways, misremembering in ways that are self serving or favoring-
Karen: No, that’s not what I’m saying. I’m giving you a demonstration of how the chaos that comes with heightened negative emotions disconnects your cognitive, your normal rational brilliance and cognitive ability, when you’re in the height of any heightened negative emotions. You just can’t think as clearly as you would have. That’s where that chaotic, that’s where we say things, where if we had a do over, we might do it differently.
Justin: For sure. For sure.
Karen: Does that make sense?
Karen: That is all part of the mindset stuff. We talked about the science of the mind selecting, organizing, and interpreting. That’s where we give meaning to whatever it is we’ve become aware of. We put in adjectives and we define it. Is it good? Is it bad? Is it right? Is it wrong? Whatever it is, in that third phase. That happens like this, like faster than this, all day long, with everything we do. Or, we can deliberately choose to be focusing on something, and really being more self aware about how we’re looking at it and how we’re thinking about it. The rest of the time, it’s just automatic. It’s what our brain does for us.
Karen: When it gets through those three phases, it drops whatever it is into one of two mindsets. I like to simplify it by calling those two mindsets judger head or learner head.
Justin: Judger head, I like that. I’m going to write these down. Judger head and learner head. You’re not giving me all of your secrets, are you?
Karen: I’m not, because I’m not explaining it all. If it drops you into judger head, that’s where you start to feel physiologically, that’s where your amygdala gets tripped. That’s when negative things start coming up. Judger head is easily recognizable because it doesn’t feel good.
Justin: Okay. Is this some form of response to some cortisol?
Karen: It’s all of the above. When your amygdala is tripped, your heart rate becomes erratic. Whatever it is for you. For me, my chest feels tighter. For most of us, our breathing starts getting more shallow. Our heart rate is more erratic. We call that the pulse speeds up or whatever. Some people feel a complete tightening in their body. They might clench their jaws. Some people shrink. They try to get away from it. Physically something happens.
Justin: Is this equivalent to the flight or flight response?
Karen: It is. That’s exactly what. Whatever happens for you, it happens instantaneously. Most of the time we are not cognizant that that is what has just happened. We’re just going with it, because that’s what the amygdala does for us. If there’s really a bear, then we need to run, so it’s important.
Karen: Judger head is valid. It’s important, we need to keep it. We just need to be aware of it. In the workplace, we don’t have too many bears to be running away from, really, right? Feels like it, but we don’t really have too many bears. Becoming aware of what it feels like to you, because it’s uncomfortable, gives you enough space to slow that erratic heart rate down and have it be more smooth. That’s where you’re calm. That’s where you’ve got your cognitive ability back. You’re much less likely to say things that when you redo it, you’ll be like, ah, I should have said this. I should have done that. Why did I do that? That’s a judger head thing.
Karen: That’s the kind of stuff we talked about. That’s mindset awareness. Becoming aware. If you’re in learner head, you’re in the flow. I would submit that you’re in learner head right now, because-
Justin: You think so? I don’t know. My heart’s racing all over the place. I’m a feel a little recoil, I don’t know. I feel very intimidated.
Karen: You’re running, you’re like ahhh.
Justin: You’re reminding me of a bear right now.
Karen: Yeah, okay. If you’re in learner head, your heart rhythm is like this, and your mind and your heart are connected at that point.
Justin: Learner head feels a lot like stoicism to a degree?
Karen: I don’t know.
Justin: Sometimes I use the term self-conscious versus others-conscious. When I think the term self-conscious, most people think of being-
Justin: -in front of a group of people. I was thinking being self-conscious as far as performing goes. When I’m thinking of self-conscious, what I’m really thinking of is someone thinking about how things affect them and their needs. Others-conscious could be thought of as thinking about how things affect something else, and their needs. Typically-
Karen: Also known as empathy.
Justin: Also known as empathy, yes. I’m just trying to give it a fancy, different name, that is the other side of self-conscious. A lot of times, we can’t be stoic in the moment. We let our emotions, I feel like, bubble up and go into judger head. When we’re thinking about how the things the other person are saying is going to affect us, rather than thinking, why are they saying what they’re saying in the first place. What is the root cause of their pain, because their pain is as legitimate as your pain is, and most people seem to forget that.
Karen: It’s theirs, yeah.
Justin: Everyone has this theory like, no my pain is more legitimate. You should accommodate me in ways that I shouldn’t have to accommodate you. More could be resolved if you were empathetic or other-conscious. Just in my own mind, again I’m just speaking from my own experience, I find that when I frame a conversation from being self conscious to other-conscious, I immediately find my physiological body calm down.
Karen: That’s exactly what we’re talking about. Shifting from, when you’re in judger head, it’s when you start feeling that uncomfortable. It’s when things can get chaotic and escalate, like you said. When you become aware of it, you say conscious, I use that self-awareness thing. Self-conscious might be, some people hear that and think intimidated, or I’m feeling self-conscious right now.
Karen: Self-awareness, for me, self-awareness is more being aware of what am I actually doing right now, and how am I impacting you right now? How am I impacting you? How is my behavior impacting you? What you’re talking about in that moment, to switch your thought process to focus on the other person and get curious about what’s going on with them, what is their intention right now? Why do they feel the way they do? Obviously it’s very different for me. Why? What’s the difference here? You have given yourself that space you need to move out of judger head into learner head. It gives you that space between stimulus and reaction. As humans, we tend to go, stimulus, reactions, stimulus, reactions. What you do in that moment, you literally described that you do, is put some space in there, and it doesn’t take long. You’ve probably experienced, it can be very quick. Now you’ve put a bubble in there where you can regain your connection between your heart and your mind, and you can now be rational and logical, and clear.
Justin: Clear, yeah. In some ways, this idea of stoicism seems to look at something objectively, but I found that, and I really want to recommend this to people, when you are able to take a step back and look at something objectively, you actually are more able to be more empathetic.
Justin: If you’re speaking on mindset awareness, and you’re probably talking to a group, you’re talking about judger head, you’re talking about learner head, I’m sure some people are thinking, oh yeah sure. I’m sure you’re right, but in the moment, how can I possibly remember, or find a way to get out of that cortisol-induced fight or flight response, exactly. Is there something that you can tell them? Is just knowing about it helping them? Is there a trick?
Karen: Is there a trick?
Justin: Yeah, we all want to know.
Karen: Yeah, so that awareness is 100% the first step. Just that now you have this awareness that I could be in a mindset that could be not my best, or maybe even detrimental to this situation. Having that awareness, and having it become present in your mind, is often enough to give you the space to take a step back. However, my master secret is, number one, be aware what it feels like.
Justin: Keep this to yourself.
Karen: Yeah, shh. This is just for us. Keep it to yourself. No no, I’ll tell this freely to the world. Okay, master secret is, know what it feels like for you when you have been triggered. Not even the thoughts you’re having, but what does it physically, what happens for you? Where do you feel it first? Actually, when you become aware of it, you feel it before anything ever comes out of your mouth once you become acutely aware of that. Practice noticing that feeling and connecting it to judger head. That’s your first alert.
Karen: As soon as you feel that feeling, the more aware of it you are, that’s your opportunity to go, something warrants investigation. Something warrants my attention here. It might be, run like hell because there’s a bear, there’s a spaceship, whatever it is, sorry. It might be wow, they’re not really trying to attack me here. They’re just feeling as passionately about this subject as I do. How about I try to understand their point of view? That’s a lot of words, we’re not going to go through all that in our head, but the more aware we are, the more able you are to recognize the sensations that you have in your body when you’re triggered, the more readily you can start to have this space.
Karen: Then the next thing you do is get curious.
Justin: Get curious.
Karen: Get curious. If you get curious, you will automatical create some more space and some more space, so that you can be your brilliant, wise self, instead of a chaotic mess in the moment.
Justin: Instead of your reptilian brain.
Karen: That’s right.
Justin: Perfect, perfect.
Karen: Get curious.
Justin: It sounds like get curious of the other person.
Karen: Even of yourself. Wow, what’s going on with me? My chest is tightening up. Why am I having such a strong reaction? All in here. Just get curious. Get curious.
Karen: How about that? Thank you for coming.
Justin: Appreciate it guys. No, I’m not letting you off that easy.
Karen: Oh, okay. Okay.
Justin: I really do want to know, how does someone like you find out that you’re good at this? Were you doing this for another company, and they just pulled you aside, and said, hey, we just really need your help mitigating some conflict over here. Did you just quit some other job you’re doing and say this is what you’re going to do? How do you fall into it?
Karen: Sort of. Yeah. In my prior life-
Justin: How long have you been doing it? I’m sorry.
Karen: Ten years. Mediation. Started just as a mediator ten years ago, and then it evolved into these other pieces of the company. Yeah.
Justin: Ten years. You’ve probably seen, one thing about your work that I really like is, not just the idea of working with peers who are not collaborating, but that idea of leaders and subordinates. There’s a power dynamic I think changes things a little bit. It’s a little bit different than even a couple being in an argument.
Karen: Sort of. There are power dynamics there too, yeah.
Justin: Sort of, sort of. Fair. What I really want to know, actually is, I really want to know about the really hard cases with leaders. The ones that are just stubborn. Why are they stubborn? I think, I haven’t talked about this before. Some of the leaders that you work with hire you because their leaders or their bosses force them to-
Karen: Their leader or their boss hires me. Yes.
Justin: Do you have any good examples of one particular leader that was stubborn in ways that were hard to solve, or maybe even impossible to solve? What sort of things are out there that we need to be aware of?
Karen: Hmm. That is way too big of a question, but let me try to address it anyway. This is what usually happens. If it’s a team dynamic that’s going sideways and people aren’t getting along, the leader says, can you fix them? Can you fix them? If it’s a leader that has issues that have become apparent to their hierarchy, higher up, that hierarchy says, can you fix him? Here’s the truth. It flows downhill. We model the behaviors naturally. It’s human nature. The dynamics that come from the top down, we tend to model. If this is broken down here, it’s broken above it as well. Even though this leader may have some fundamental issues that I can help them become more aware of, and experiment with different behaviors that will be more successful for him, if the one up here isn’t in the boat and modeling those behaviors too, this one’s not going to adapt to it. Does that make sense?
Justin: Yeah. Is there anything that someone on, I don’t want to say lower ring, but someone who has a leader, and maybe recognizing some problems … Actually, let me frame this a little bit differently. Let’s say someone recognize that there are problems, but doesn’t necessarily know why. What are some red flags that they might look for to know they could use-
Karen: For themselves or for someone else?
Justin: I was going to say … how would someone who’s not a leader recognize that they could use someone like your help? Are there any specific red flags?
Karen: Mm-hmm (affirmative). If they’re not getting the results that they want.
Justin: Just like the results. That could be for a number of reasons though. You could have a business that just has a lousy product maybe, or … I guess at the end of the day it just all flows back to operation. It’s one of those filters, right? That’s fantastic.
Karen: Yeah. If I’m personally not, if I keep seeing people get promoted around me, and I think I deserve it but I’m not the one being selected, that might be a reason to come talk to me, to try to help you uncover what’s going right with them that’s not working right with you? Is there something that could be different? As a staff person maybe that wants to climb the ladder or maybe get better results, that would be something. Bottom line is, something’s not working for you. Something is not working for you in the workplace. If you’re not sure what it is, I can help you pinpoint it.
Justin: There. I like that, I like that. I like that. I know you read. We talked a little bit about the books you read. Are there certain books you find yourself recommending more than others?
Karen: Yeah. Yeah. There are a few. There’s one that I’ve been recommending for probably four or five years now, and that is, it’s by Marilee Adams, and it’s called-
Justin: I’ll put a link in the description, by the way.
Karen: Yes. It’s called, Change Your Questions, Change Your Life. It is all about learner head, judger head, and the assumptions we make about other people that become our truth about them that could be way off base.
Karen: That’s one. Here’s another one that I just read that I know we talked about. I just read back during the holidays. The Speed of Trust.
Justin: I think you already talked a little bit about that.
Karen: Yes. Stephen R. Covey, the Speed of Trust, where he explains that to be trustworthy is not synonymous with being honest. Being honest is certainly a component of being trustworthy, but if we look at it in the context of the workplace, or anywhere else, but we’ll talk about the workplace, is if you are trustworthy for me, that means I can count on a congruency between what you say and what you do, that those things are congruent. If you espouse the values of the company, but then you behave in a very different way, that is incongruent. You are not going to be trustworthy. If you espouse, yeah, yeah, yeah. I can do it. Yeah, we’ll get it done, boss. Got it, got it, we’ll get it done, and then you continually miss deadlines, you are not trustworthy to me. You are going to say that you’re going to do it, but I cannot trust that it will actually get done and get done on time.
Justin: Yeah, totally. That makes perfect sense.
Karen: There’s different pillars of trust that make up the whole trustworthiness of the person. The book does a great job of explaining how to fulfill each pillar of being trustworthy. It actually has a couple of quizzes in it too, to help you self assess where you might be having some shortfalls.
Justin: Fair enough.
Karen: It’s a great book though.
Justin: Fair enough. I like that. Okay, so we have Change Your Questions, Change Your …
Justin: -Life, and the Speed of Trust.
Karen: Speed of Trust. Those are two right now that I love. Emotional Intelligence. Yeah, 2.0. I love Danial Goleman, the father of Emotional Intelligence. His book is fabulous. If you’re not into the academics of it, then you’ll want to read 2.0, because 2.0 is written by Travis Bradbury, and it’s very conversational.
Justin: Just be clear. Is there Emotional Intelligence and Emotional Intelligence 2.0? Are those two different books?
Justin: Okay, got it.
Karen: Emotional Intelligence, there’s a few emotional intelligence books written by Daniel Goleman, who’s really considered kind of the father of emotional intelligence. Massive research. Research hundreds of different companies. His research has been replicated. It comes back with the same response for every type of job, every demographic, government, nonprofit, tech, whatever it is, that it is your level of emotional intelligence that determines how successful you will actually be. Much more so than your IQ.
Justin: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I think most of us have heard that, whether this is true or not, maybe you could give me more insight on this. There seems to be this, to have more of one is to have less of the other. You see this thing where if you have a really high IQ, maybe you’re a little more socially inept. Do you subscribe to that maxim, or do you believe that anybody can learn this emotional intelligence, regardless of …
Karen: I believe, and research supports, that there’s a concept which I think may be beginning to be overturned a little bit, that your IQ, it is what it is. That is your ability to learn. Your ability to learn is your IQ. Emotional intelligence can be developed. If the person has zero emotional intelligence today but has a desire to grow their capacity in self-awareness, other-awareness, self-management, social management, if they have the desire, they can grow it, with awareness and practice.
Justin: Love that. Love that. I really like this next topic, and I think you’re pretty excited about this next one too.
Karen: I don’t know what it is.
Justin: I’m going to build the suspense for a second. I understand you are working with the Escape Room company. Is this something we can talk about? Is this fair game?
Karen: It’s not ready for public consumption, but we can talk theoretically about it.
Justin: Theoretically? We could also talk about it and then withhold the actual information until it’s okay to go public.
Karen: Okay. We’re very close, yes. Very, very close.
Justin: Let’s put a couple questions together, generally how they come about. In what way are you involved? What I’m very curious about is, how are these new escape rooms that you’re having your hand in developing, how are they different than the normal escape rooms? I have done only one before, os I have only the smallest amount of context, so let’s be as general as possible. How did it come about? How did this …
Karen: Well, it came about because one of the leaders for the Great Escape Room saw me speak, and at the end came up and said, can we go to lunch soon? I’d like to buy you lunch, I think we might have some, which of course I figured they have a problem at work that they want me to-
Justin: That’s usually what lunch indicates, yeah.
Karen: It is. They want some free advice on how to fix their problem. I was intrigued. What does the Great Escape Room want from me, so we had lunch. Actually, what they had was a desire to develop a program that would set them apart from the other escape type rooms. The Great Escape Room is here downtown. There’s also an escape room that’s called something a little different, but close to it down on I Drive. Is that the one you did? Which one did you do?
Justin: I actually did one in Tampa.
Karen: Oh, well that might have been the Great Escape Room, because they’re in Tampa.
Justin: I didn’t realize there are a number of competitors.
Karen: There are. There are a few competitors around the country. This one has 14 locations right now. They have a desire to get, to add more value to what they give to their customer, and to really get into the corporate world. Already small teams will come do the experience, because it’s fun, it’s a team building experience. Bring your team. They wanted to combine a learning component with it, so that’s where I came in. They want me, Perspectives, me, the proverbial me, to provide content and training to corporate entities that come in. Then they do the Great Escape Room experience, and have a chance to really apply everything that we just talked about.
Karen: You did it, it’s a little stressful, right? You get locked in. You’re against the clock. You have to figure out these clues. You have to work together to try to get out. It’s a perfect laboratory for what we just learned in a two hour training program before.
Justin: I can really imagine the ways in which the people I did the escape room with when I did it, could have benefited from some of that collaboration.
Karen: Right? It is the greatest laboratory. The training program that I’ll be providing is my, it’s called the Truth About Conflict program. They’re going to learn about their conflict style, other conflict styles, where each might be most applicable or more effective. They’re going to learn a little bit more about why we experience conflict, like where it comes from, how we experience it. Then they get to go get locked in a room and have to work as a team and figure out against a clock how to get out. Boom, what a perfect laboratory, right?
Justin: I really do that like. I really like that.
Karen: Perfect. Then we’ll come out and have a debrief. Download discussion about, what did you notice? What did we experience while we were in there? How does that relate back to what we talked about in here?
Justin: Everything is learned in the debrief, I found out too. Is there, again I’ve only done it once, I don’t have tons of context. What might be some, and this is just for flavor, what might be one difference in the escape room that you wouldn’t see in some other escape room?
Karen: I don’t know. The difference is the learning experience. That’s the difference. They’re not necessarily changing, I think they’re always evolving their escape rooms, and they have multiple ones, but it’s just the activity itself. I’m not involved in them changing anything with regard to what they do. We’re just blending. We’re turning a one hour fun time for a corporate group into a half day learning, team building experience, where they will actually come back to work and still be talking about it. Instead of, oh that was fun. When are we doing to do a fun excursion again? They’ll have new language, they’ll have new shared learning experience, and they will have applied it in the escape room. It’s more of an event. The shared learning experience.
Justin: I see that more now. That’s very cool. It’s very cool. One thing you brought up in describing the escape rooms that I think we’ve also covered a little bit, but I would still love some more context, is this idea of, I think you said conflict style. Some of these are mapped to animals, almost like spirit animals. Can you give ma couple of examples, just flavors? Obviously what we see in nature we see in ourselves as well too. I’d love to hear a couple examples of our conflict styles.
Karen: Sure. If you come to my conflict workshop, you will learn what your go to and your secondary conflict styles are. Your go-to conflict style comes out when your amygdala has been tripped, and you’re on autopilot, and you’re in reaction mode. Times of high stress, high conflict, your go-to style is coming out. It’s happening, it’s coming out.
Karen: One would be a shark. What would you think a shark would be?
Justin: Oh, a shark? Sharks are … usually very smooth and nonaggressive, but then obviously they’re going to be the most aggressive when they’re actually attacking.
Karen: Don’t overthink this. When you think of a shark, if there is a shark in the water while you’re swimming, what is your thought?
Justin: I’m terrified. They’re obviously the ones doing the most damage, most destruction it feels like.
Karen: I got to get away.
Justin: I got to get away, yeah.
Karen: Yeah. A shark is more aggressive..
Justin: Not a lot of reasoning with a shark, I feel like.
Karen: Right. It’s like, food, food. Whatever it is. Whatever their driver is. For a human, for this analogous approach, for the conflict style of the shark, the shark is the more aggressive. It is the Hollywood version of a shark. It’s Jaws, right? Da, da, da, da, I’m coming after you. In real life, attorneys are often sharks, judges are often sharks. A shark for example, will, not can, will make a very quick judgment. Judge a situation very quickly, and not waiver from it, and argue it until the cows come home, until they win. A shark is not backing down. I’m going to win. There is a win and there is a lose, when you’re up against a shark.
Justin: Okay, got it. Got it.
Karen: Another one is a turtle. What would you think a turtle would be like?
Justin: Well, they’re slower to react? Slower to judge, maybe?
Karen: What do they do? What do they do when they feel threatened?
Justin: Oh, I’d say they recoil. They go on the defensive. Maybe they’re not attacking, they’re taking the onslaught of attacks but-
Karen: They completely retreat, right?
Karen: Earlier when I was talking about physical sensations, I said some people actually try to get smaller. There’s an exercise in my workshop where we test it. People close their eyes. I can pick out often times, the sharks and the turtles. The others are harder to discern just in a moment like that, but a turtle, you will see them actually try to get away. Try to retreat.
Karen: If a turtle gets an ugly email, and accusatory threatening email, they might not even respond to it. If a turtle walks into a break room, and there’s some kind of thing going on that they may know about, they will turn around and leave versus give their input into what’s happening. If a turtle is at a meeting table, and passions are high, a discussion is high, they may have the most brilliant input to give, but you’ll probably never hear it.
Justin: That really is a shame. Okay.
Karen: Those are two extremes. Yeah.
Justin: Those are, I can see how those are extremes on this very obvious dimension. Give me just one more, so I have a third perspective.
Karen: Some context? Okay. One more would be the owl. Cartoon-like, what do you think of when you think of an owl?
Justin: A wise, reserved, doesn’t say too much, but says like-
Karen: Observant. Giving you a clue here. Yeah, very observant. Very interested in why you feel the way you do. Mediators, for example.
Justin: Is it very learner head?
Karen: It’s very learner head. Am owl tends to stay in learner head because they’re genuinely interested in, obviously you feel completely different than I do about this. I want to know why. I genuinely want to know why. They make very good mediators, because they can hear the two sides of the story and be genuinely curious about, that is 180 degrees from what I just heard in the other room. Help me understand why. Then vice verse and all that, and bridge the gap between the two.
Karen: That’s what an owl does. An owl wants, an owl will recognize the turtle at the table, and will quiet the shark down, and ask the turtle. What do you think about this? I feel like we need to know what you feel about this. That’s what the owl will do. The owl is great to have around, when you have time, because it’s the most time consuming conflict resolution piece of it all. If it’s something that needs to be done quickly, we got to make a decision and go, you want your shark. They’re going to make a decision, and we’re going to go.
Justin: That makes a lot of sense. Thank you for that example. That provided a layer of context I wanted. That’s good. Karen?
Karen: Yes, Justin?
Justin: Let’s say somebody wants to reach out to you, wants to contact you. How would you recommend they go about doing that?
Karen: They can email me at email@example.com. There is an S on the end of Perspectives. Everybody gets that wrong. It’s plural. Perspectivesllc.com. They can call me. 407-926-2451.
Justin: Mm-hmm (affirmative). All of your contact information and the show notes, I will put, so maybe your social media as well too, any links to your information on the escape room, depending on the time that this comes out. Besides that, Karen, thank you so much for coming. I really appreciate it. I had a great conversation, I learned a lot. You do such interesting things and you help people in such interesting ways.
Karen: Thank you.
Justin: Thanks for what you do, and thanks for coming.
Karen: Thank you. Very fun. Thank you Justin.
Justin: Alright guys, that’s the end of the episode. Thank you very much for watching. If you have any feedback at all, please feel encouraged to leave it down in the comment section below. I do read it. I do want to know the ways in which we can improve the show for you. If you liked it and you know somebody else who would find value in watching this show, please do share it with them. Hit the like button, hit the subscribe button. Support us in any way you feel. Otherwise, we’ll see you next episode. Thanks for watching.