Retail Observer

August 2020

The Retail Observer is an industry leading magazine for INDEPENDENT RETAILERS in Major Appliances, Consumer Electronics and Home Furnishings

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RETAILOBSERVER.COM AUGUST 2020 42 I nside organizations, the content of these conversations is often about work performance, or goals, or how to fulfill an organization's mission together. And yet, the context of these conversations is most often about improving or repairing trust and working relationships. We know that when relationships are broken – when that Trust Bank is empty – we are often unable to focus our efforts and our words toward what matters. Our inter-personal strife and our intra-personal conversation become a barrier, a distraction, or worse, a source of destruction. I do this work every day, and it matters. It works. Often, people will jokingly ask me why I don't work with governments or politicized groups. "I would," I always respond, "they haven't asked me." I rarely market myself as someone who does "conflict resolution" or "mediation" (even though I do), and I'm not sure why. Often the word "mediation" feels rooted in contentiousness and sounds intellectualized and wooden. I've chosen, as the poet-pragmatist I have become, to create and hold inspiring spaces with real-world communication skills that improve the outcome, and most especially, the relationships. I try to invite people to see each other, hear each other, as awkward, perfectly imperfect human beings who most days are doing the best they can. I often say there are no long-term relationships, at work or at home, that do not require forgiveness and do-overs, generosity, empathy, kindness, and apologies. Often, I feel idealistic and impractical, especially in the face of organizational language geared toward profits instead of people, or results at the cost of reconciliation, when what I want to feel is certain and fearless. If you want to mend these broken relationships, or even make them a little better, you must begin with you and your own awareness, and it will likely be rooted in emotion or feelings: you are in some kind of discomfort, distress, or pain. ON BECOMING WILLING : REFLECTIONS ON CHOOSING TO HEAL THAT WHICH IS BROKEN Libby Wagner Culture Coach IT'S AN EXTRAORDINARY TIME FOR BUSINESS LEADERS IN MID-2020. MOST DAYS, I AM IN CONVERSATION WITH LEADERS, ENTREPRENEURS, AND INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE WORKING HARD AT GETTING CLEAR ABOUT WHAT THEY WANT TO SAY AND HOW TO SAY IT.

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