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These articles were prepared for the January 11, 2006
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Survival Guide: Mercer Economic Summit
A major Mercer County economic summit highlights the diversity of this
relatively small county. Workshops are set to address everything from
large-scale warehouse operations to the most sophisticated emerging
technologies. Putting a wrapper on these core economic activities are
talks and workshops on the arts, environmental planning, and mixed use
Sponsored by the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce, the summit
takes place on Thursday, January 12, at 3 p.m. at Friend Center on the
Princeton University campus. Cost: $50. Call 609-924-1776 or visit
The keynote is by James Hughes, dean of Rutgers’ Edward Bloustein
School of Planning and Public Policy. There are a number of breakout
sessions. J. Robert Hillier, founder of architecture firm the Hillier
Group, leads a session on mixed use centers, highlighting those in
development in central New Jersey. Anthony Tennariello of the
WorldTrade Management Services at PricewaterhouseCoopers leads a group
that addresses warehousing, distribution, logistics, and foreign trade
zones, a large and expanding business in the county.
Richard F.X. Johnson, senior vice president of Matrix Development,
moderates a session on environmental planning and urban renewal with
an emphasis on the investment options in the county’s urban centers.
Congressman Rush Holt talks about the development of an Einstein’s
Alley of technology and bio-sciences companies along the Route 1
Finally, Kimberly Stever of the Capital Region Convention and Visitors
Bureau moderates a panel of local and statewide leaders who address
the impact of arts and culture in the county and talk about plans to
enhance and grow cultural and artistic industries.
There are more than 17,000 mid-sized companies in the United States –
a lucrative market, if you know how to approach it, says Peggy McHale
of Consultants 2 Go. Her management consulting firm specializes in
marketing and sales development. Located in Berkeley Heights, she and
her partner, Sandi Webster, specialize in working with mid-sized
McHale speaks on "The ABCs of B2B: Getting Your Share of the B2B
Market" at a meeting of the Mercer County Chapter of NJAWBO (New
Jersey Association of Women Business Owners) on Thursday, January 12,
at 6 p.m. at the Harrison Conference Center. Cost: $40. Register by
sending an E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why should you target mid-sized companies in your marketing? Not only
do they make up a large segment of the marketplace, but also, because
of their smaller organization structure, they often need to hire out
services that are provided by in-house employees at larger companies.
For instance, a smaller firm may not have its own human relations
staff or marketing department, and will need to hire a consultant for
these types of services.
Before you can target a business, you have to learn about it, says
McHale. She uses the Small Business Administration guidelines as a
starting to point in defining a mid-sized company. According to those
guidelines, a mid-sized company has between 500 to 1,000 employees and
grosses between $50 million to $1 billion a year.
But within those basic guidelines there are an infinite variety of
businesses – everything from older, well-established firms to
start-ups. These companies may be involved in manufacturing, banking,
retail, and almost any other type of business. "While it certainly
varies, you will find a large concentration of manufacturers fall into
this category," says McHale. Community banks and information
technology companies are two other groups that are often found in the
One common characteristic, however, says McHale, is that mid-sized
firms have a "flatter" organizational structure. "You have to move
very high up in the chain of command to get to the decision maker."
This is especially true of family firms, she says.
As a vice president specializing in new industries for American
Express, McHale had an opportunity to become familiar with the needs
of small and mid-sized businesses. She was working for American
Express in downtown Manhattan on 9/11 and says that experience played
a key factor in starting her own business. "I think I always had it in
the back of my mind to start my own company," she says, "but it was a
risk." When she was offered a seperation package in 2002 she decided
the risks no longer looked too large, and went out on her own. "After
9/11 I just look at risk differently," she says.
McHale offers a number of practical tips and techniques for reaching
the mid-sized market.
Learn about your potential client. This is of paramount importance.
Before approaching a company, try to learn everything you can about
it. Not only should you learn about the industry, but also about the
individual firm: what they sell, who they sell to, and of course, who
those key decision makers are.
This can be particularly important and particularly difficult if the
business is family owned. The CEO may be the person who started the
company or it may be the child of the founder or another family
member, but the founder may still be very involved. "In a family-owned
business, it is important to ferret out who all the key influences
are," she says. "They may be board members or even other family
members who are not directly involved in day to day operations of the
Get to know the people. No matter what industry or company you are
targeting, it helps to get to know the people in charge in a personal
way, says McHale. "Find out what associations they belong to – what
chambers or trade groups." Then join those groups so that you can meet
people in a more casual environment. "Get involved in the
organization," she recommends. That way you will have a chance to
interact with those key decision makers on a regular basis.
Another good way to get to know the decision makers is to find out
what charities they are involved in and join them yourself. For
example, she said, many community banks are involved in Habitat for
Humanity. Volunteering with a local Habitat group will give you the
chance not only to meet bankers, but to learn more about them on a
Package your services. Once you’ve met the decision makers, you still
must convince them that your product or service is right for their
business. Packaging is often the answer, says McHale. "Mid-sized
companies are less apt to buy custom solutions and more apt to look at
something that has been "productized." This means that the product or
service can be easily replicated and offers a cost savings for the
Offer added services. Since mid-sized firms often don’t have a large
staff, offering additional services is a great benefit. For example,
automatic upgrades to software or free or low cost maintenance and
service are attractive "extras" to this type of company. "In some ways
selling to a mid-sized firm is more like selling to an individual
consumer," she says.
No matter what the size or type of business you are targeting, McHale
says the most important thing to remember is to "do your homework."
Don’t go in unprepared or without the knowledge of who you need to
talk to make the sale.
– Karen Hodges Miller
Corporate managers are always going off to one kind of training or
another, a day here, a seminar there. In fact, the belief that
training pays off has spawned a network of internal trainers and
external consultants whose goal is to improve productivity and swell
the bottom line. But Don Blohowiak, a Princeton Junction-based
organizational consultant and individual coach (www.leadwell.com),
worries that training is often less effective than one might suppose.
The issue is something he calls the "KND problem: Knowing, Not Doing."
Often managers get the concepts down, but putting them into action is
another story. "They will talk about and promote ideas, slogans, new
programs, and consultants, and things don’t change much," he says.
"Many times they do things that are at odds with what they are talking
about. They haven’t gotten down to the process level, where tasks,
programs, and systems support the new ideas."
Blohowiak is speaking on "Managerial Performance: The Truth Is Out
There, So Why Are We Ignoring it?" to the Mid-New Jersey ASTD on
Thursday, January 12, at 8 a.m. at the Princeton Courtyard Marriott.
Cost: $40. Register at www.midnjastd.org.
Blohowiak, who maintains an interesting blog at
www/blogs/bnet.com/leadershipnow, says that research makes eminently
clear the characteristics of a good manager. And the most managers in
an organization can cite the correct practices by chapter and verse.
Then what prevents effective management?
The problem is that the organization and the individual manager often
work at cross purposes. "They are two sides of the same coin, but they
can be at odds," says Blohowiak. He likens the situation to that of a
magnet. The positive and negative poles together can create energy,
but they have to work in tandem. But in a business mixed signals often
dominate, pushing for one thing on the corporate side while
undermining it at the individual level. "You have to address both,"
For successful outcomes, businesses have to get the two organizational
levels in synch, and bring together the conceptual and the practical.
Blohowiak suggests a number of ways that organizations can improve
Do not give oppositional directives. Blohowiak points out that "mixed
signals confuse people, waste time, and frustrate managers, who are
trying to figure out what the company really wants." This occurs when
businesses say they are going to emphasize customer satisfaction, but
that they are predicating managers’ bonuses on cost-cutting.
Likewise, businesses that have lost good employees and want to make
sure managers don’t overwork those who remain, tell managers to "honor
the work-life balance." They promulgate slogans and write articles in
corporate newsletters urging employees to live full lives. But at the
same time they institute a budget cut, and, needing to do more with
less, may initiate a hiring freeze and urge managers to increase
Another common corporate action is to promote a "team environment"
while at the same granting all rewards based on individual
achievement. Also, any number of organizations talk about managing for
results and running a taut ship, but at the same time tell their
managers not to fire anyone so as not to hurt morale.
"Managers figure out which mixed messages mean things," Blohowiak
says. "They will focus on their own rewards and what their own
managers want." They think to themselves: "It would be better if I
fashioned this in the manner of X, but I believe the company wants Y,
so I will put the emphasis on Y."
Use the appropriate measures to assess progress. "Make sure you are
measuring things that align with what you say are your priorities,"
says Blohowiak. Typically, businesses, and even nonprofits, use broad
financial measures like expenses and profits to gauge success.
"There are other key measures they need to get their hands around if
they are going to be successful," he says. First, they need measures
relevant to the changes they are trying to make. "They can’t measure
the old stuff and preach the new stuff. We’re not changing the things
we keep data on and assess success by." Second, organizations need to
track results and profits in multiple areas, including operations,
finance, human resources, and customer service.
Develop organizational systems that support desired changes. "Every
organization is perfectly aligned for its current results," he says.
But if, for example, you want a more streamlined process, you need
support systems that allow that to happen. Perhaps you need more
sophisticated or simpler technology and a good system for hiring
people with the right skills and then rewarding them. You can’t have
business as usual, paying only lip service to desired results, and
expect that they will come about.
Institute consequences that support change. "If you don’t reward what
you want to happen and punish for refusing to do what you want," says
Blohowiak, "you default to inertia." Without sufficient motivation to
change, people will continue to rely on their old habits. When people
are confused or frustrated – as they tend to be in any change
environment – they will default to what they know and are comfortable
"If there are no consequences, why put up with the problems of
change?" says Blohowiak. Even the most dutiful employees will ask "why
am I doing this?" if the company doesn’t recognize their efforts and
sends signals that they don’t matter. When companies say that the
stars will get a 3 percent raise and the clunkers just half-a-percent
less, change will not happen.
Train individuals and corporations to work together for corporate
goals. "Those of us who work in training and development try to give
people better ways of doing things, but exposure to information does
not change behavior," says Blohowiak. He mentions two lyrics he often
hears from managers. The first is "you can’t please everyone, so
you’ve gotta please yourself," from Ricky Nelson’s "Garden Party." The
second is "I can’t do what 10 people want me to do, so I guess I’ll
remain the same," from Otis Redding’s "Sitting on the Dock of the
Trainers need to help executives develop a holistic understanding of
organizational function. At the same time individual managers need
tailored, individualized training – especially coaching and mentoring
– not training programs that assume everyone is at the same place in
Blohowiak grew up in Milwaukee and graduated in 1978 from the
University of Wisconsin with a self-designed degree – a Bachelor of
Arts General, or BAG – in communication. His studies combined
journalism, rhetoric, and interpersonal communication. He began his
career as a journalist and soon was recruited over to the business
"It was a career path that I had never expected," he says. The reason
he gives for his interest in the ideas that nourish good management is
that he has never taken a business course. "I started writing books
because I had the questions and not the answers," he says. "It has led
me to always look with an open mind."
Blohowiak says that before setting out on his own as a consultant 10
years ago, he was a manager and executive with Fortune 500 companies
in four time zones. He spent five years with AP as a marketing
executive and worked with the cable television industry in New York
City as a professional publicist. "Working in California, Denver, New
York, and Detroit," he says, "I reached the conclusion that no matter
what the business or nonprofit, the people issues remain the same."
Blohowiak says that he cares a lot about ideas and eventually reached
a point in his career where he wanted to see concepts realized. He
took the ideas he had learned from day-to-day dealings with state
government, associations, Fortune 100 companies, and family-opened
businesses. "I was so fortunate to see an extreme variety of
organizations and see that the challenges are universal," he says.
His goal is to close the chasm between knowing and doing. "The mind is
perfectly capable of ignoring what it knows," says Blohowiak. "People
excuse themselves out of doing better." In the face of this aspect of
human nature, his goal is to teach and enable top managers to do
things in a different way.
– Michele Alperin
Sure you have clients, but are they the clients you really want?
Stephanie Sharp poses this surprising answer when asked about why it
is important to review marketing plans a the beginning of a new year.
"Marketing is not about getting business," she says. "It’s about
getting the business you want."
Sharp, owner of Hamilton-based graphics communications firm, Sharp
Designs, speaks at the NJAWBO Marketing Roundtable meeting on Tuesday,
January 17, at 8:15 a.m. at the offices of the Mercadien Group at 3625
Quakerbridge Road. Marsha Stoltman of the Stoltman Group is also
speaking. The meeting is free to members and is $20 for all others.
Call 609-392-8724 for more information.
Sharp is a Texas native and a graduate of West Texas State University
(Class of 1984). She worked for several firms in New Orleans and then
in Atlanta before following her husband, an executive in retail
management who commutes to Manhattan, to New Jersey and
re-establishing her company here. She uses independent contractors –
writers, photographers, and graphic designers – to work on all aspects
of branding, including logos, brochures, and newsletters for business
to business companies. Many of her clients are in the pharmaceutical,
healthcare, and financial services industries.
For her own business, she finds that the most effective marketing
involves joining – and participating actively in – associations. "A
thing I hate," she says, "is hearing people say `I joined this group a
year ago, and haven’t gotten any business.’" The key she says, in an
interview held right after she returned from a chamber of commerce
breakfast, is to attend regularly and to participate in committees.
Become known as a person who adds value and can be counted on, and
business may well follow. This kind of marketing costs very little, as
do many of Sharp’s marketing suggestions.
Prepare a written marketing plan. Many business owners, busy putting
out fires, simply never take the time to draw up a marketing plan.
Even in busy times, however, it’s a good idea to do so. "Write it
down," says Sharp. "Make a commitment to yourself."
Ask the big questions. A marketing plan should begin with a thorough
self examination. What exactly is it that you do? Sure, it sounds
obvious. But are you a website designer who specializes in E-commerce
sites or a website designer with a deep understanding of non-profits?
Who are your competitors in this niche? Why are you better than they
are? Is it your graphics that set you apart, or your quick turnaround,
or maybe your level of experience?
Translate your strengths into benefits for your clients. When you have
to have a clear understanding of your niche, use your marketing plan
to state just how it translates into a value proposition for potential
clients. "It’s not all about you," says Sharp. Your marketing
materials may mention awards you have won – and people do occasionally
ask, she says – but mostly they must talk about what it is you do that
will plump up clients’ bottom lines or make their lives easier.
Take advantage of free marketing. It costs nothing to send out a press
release. Do it, says Sharp, and do it well. But make sure not to do it
too often. Yes, many media outlets will snap up the story of how your
company is helping Katrina victims rebuild their homes. But
thrice-weekly releases on incremental changes to your products or
services may soon cause reporters to automatically crumple anything
with your company name on it to use in wastebasket basketball practice
If the organizations you join offer free ads in their newsletters or
listings in their databases, by all means take advantage. "I belong to
the Mercer Chamber," says Sharp. "They offer new members an ad in
their newsletter, and I am amazed by how many people do not take
advantage." She has even offered cut-rate help in preparing an ad, and
still finds that some members don’t want to bother. "It’s a way to get
your name out there," she says. And it’s free.
Another potentially valuable free marketing opportunity presents
itself every time that attendees at a meeting are invited to stand and
talk for a minute or two about themselves and their businesses. A
frequent meeting goer herself, Sharp has observed that "a lot of
people could use some help with their elevator speeches." Be prepared
for these opportunities. Craft a succinct, interesting message.
Know that you are part of your branding. At a recent chamber meeting,
Sharp ran into a business owner wearing an orange and black tie. She
asked if he was a Princeton graduate. No, he said, pointing to his
brochure and showing her that these were his company colors. Sharp’s
company colors are teal and silver, and she says that she frequently
wears some item of teal-colored clothing to association meetings.
Spend on basic marketing materials. Sharp sometimes is handed business
cards that "look like they were printed from a home ink jet printer."
While a business owner may think that this is a smart money-saving
move, she says that cheap materials often translate in potential
clients’ minds to a fly-by-night image. "They may wonder if you can
afford business cards, and if you’ll be around to finish their
projects," she says.
Invest in a website. Sharp says that even a restaurant now needs a
website. At a minimum, potential customers need basic information
about a business, contact information, and directions.
Set concrete goals. Without a marketing plan, it is difficult to
measure results. It’s a road map to business growth. Make it as
specific as possible. "You can write that you want to add six new
clients this year, or increase sales by 15 percent," Sharp gives as
Set aside time to market. "I know a man who makes cold calls between 9
and 10 a.m. one day a week," says Sharp. The same business owner sets
aside another block of time later on in the week for follow-up calls.
Make this marketing push a regular part of your routine, because no
matter how busy you are now, feast or famine is the rule for most
businesses. Outreach during busy times can mean that the work will
keep on coming.
Reel in better clients. Many business owners are happy just to have
business, and eagerly take on anyone who throws work their way. Bad
idea, says Sharp. "There are bad clients," she says, her Texas twang
softening the critical assessment. These clients tend to call whenever
a question pops into their heads, interrupting work and soaking up
time. Do the numbers, and these time wasters may be adding less than
nothing to the bottom line. Other clients to be avoided are those that
pay too little, or whose work is just not the sort of thing you want
to spend you time on.
Use marketing time to woo clients with interesting work who pay well
and are considerate of your time. What business owner could ask for a
better New Year’s present?
– Kathleen McGinn Spring
A new women’s business group launches in the Princeton area this
month. Webgrrls, a branch of an 11-year-old international
organization, has as a somewhat frivolous name, but a serious mission.
"It was the first Internet group in New York City," says Jamie Cid,
the organizer of the brand new Princeton chapter. "It’s focus is to
propel women forward in their careers." In keeping with its name, the
group also has a technology focus. But it’s not limited to women who
work in Internet or high tech businesses. "Technology drives most
enterprises," says Cid. "If you’re in marketing, you have to know how
to put together an E-mail campaign. If you’re in sales, you have to
know how to manage your contacts."
The first Princeton-area Webgrrls meeting takes place on Wednesday,
January 18, at 7 p.m. at the Borders book store in the Nassau Park
shopping center. Call 917-975-6645 for more information.
The inaugural meeting is free. After that a yearly membership will be
about $55, and will include the cost of all meetings, as well as a
Webgrrls database listing. Non-members will be able to attend future
meetings for between $10 and $15. Cid says that the price will depend
in large part upon who will be speaking. Cid is not yet sure on which
day of the month the group will meet. She is looking to feedback from
early attendees to determine a good monthly date.
While the group’s name denotes an all-female membership, Cid says that
men are welcome, and that some do attend, while others serve as
sponsors or workshop leaders. "Everyone is welcome," she says.
Topics of discussion will include such Internet topics as how to
establish an E-commerce site or how to start a blog. But there will
also be workshops and talks on more general business subjects,
possibly including how to handle finances for a small company and how
to market effectively.
Why have a technology group for women? "The dynamic is different when
there are only women in the room," says Cid, who has been attending
the New York City Webgrrls chapter for years. Women tend to interact
differently when they’re on their own, she finds. There is less of a
sense of competition. Women may also need more support in technology
careers, she adds, pointing out that the fairer sex is seriously
under-represented in IT careers.
Cid, however, has pushed straight ahead in male-dominated fields, and
is only now taking a sort-of-female detour by launching a line of skin
A Brooklyn native, Cid, 30, is largely self-educated. She spent some
time at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, where she studied
accounting, but soon left to pursue a Wall Street career. She became a
broker and did financial consulting for four years before "becoming a
little bored." She says that she wanted "something in technology," and
signed on with Sprint where she sold telecom equipment to big
companies. She then did the same thing for MCI.
At that point she wanted to change career direction again. "I took a
year’s break to think about what I wanted," she says. "I traveled to
India, got involved in alternative medicine. I did volunteer work."
She also decided to change locales, and moved to Lawrence. She changed
her career, too, joining Ramco, a software firm with offices at 3150
Brunswick Pike, where she now works as an aviation software developer.
The time off – and interest in alternative medicine – also gave birth
to Cid’s first entrepreneurial enterprise. In December she launched
the Saijade brand of skin care products (www.saijade.com) at an event
in SoHo. As a base, her products use rooibos, which, she explains, is
a South African herb with healing, anti-inflammatory properties. She
chose the company name because it embodies her view of 21st century
women. "Sai means mother and father in Persian," she says. "And jade
signifies strength, longevity, and protection."
"That is the essence of a woman," she continues. "We are mothers and
professionals. We play the role of male and of female, and there has
to be a balance."
Cid is running the new company from her home with a partner, Pushita
Loffreda. The two met when Loffreda married one of Cid’s best friends.
The two traveled together and discovered similar interests. "It’s a
perfect fit," she says. Loffreda handles the day-to-day business of
getting the skin care line into stores, while Cid says that she is "a
week-end entrepreneur." The partners worked with one consultant on the
formulation of their products and another on the labeling. Cid
explains that the skin care line is organic, and therefore does not
require FDA approval, but it does need to submit to FDA labeling
guidelines. The two women designed the line’s packaging themselves.
As if aviation software design, a skin care products launch, and the
organization of a new women’s group was not enough, Cid has just
started a technology blog. Located at techgadgetblog.com, is a
joint venture with Josh Hinds, an Alabama-based motivational writer
she became friendly with during visits to his website, Get Motivated
(getmotivated.com). She envisions that women who join her
Webgrrls chapter will use the blog to share information and expertise,
and to promote their own businesses.
Meanwhile, Cid is writing the blog herself. It’s a full life for the
self-taught techie, entrepreneur, software developer, and blogger. "I
get up at 5 a.m.," she says. But still she is hatching new plans. She
talks about getting the new Webgrrls group involved in mentoring, and
is planning on signing up a number of corporate sponsors – at about
$150 apiece. But won’t rounding them up take a lot of time? "Oh no,"
says Cid, "just some short phone calls."
Her life has been all about moving from enterprise to enterprise,
using networking of all kinds as the vine she swings on. She is
confident that the Webgrrls group – which she is publicizing largely
through her group of contacts – will provide the same kind of
opportunities for those who participate.
"It’s all about empowering women," says a woman who has been powering
her own career progress, with a little help from her friends, since
she was a teen-ager.
– Kathleen McGinn Spring
`There is a mini epidemic in business and industry of not making
decisions," says Stephen W. Oliver. That lack of decision-making
leadership means companies, at best, are often being led by inertia.
At worst, they flounder and eventually fail or become take-over
Oliver, a human resources consultant based in Philadelphia, teaches
classes in leadership. He teaches a five-session course, "Leadership
Skills for Managers," at Mercer County Community College, starting on
Wednesday, January 18, at 6:30 p.m. Cost: $270. Call 609-586-9446.
"Leadership Skills for Managers" is part of the American Management
Association University Certificate in Leadership Excellence offered by
the college. To earn the certificate, participants must complete four
core courses and two electives.
Management in today’s workplace demands "a new type of leadership,"
says Oliver. These new leaders need to be "visionaries, change agents,
coaches, and empowerers."
Oliver has worked in human resources for over 20 years. A graduate of
West Virginia University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in
English, he received his master’s degree in human resources
development at Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia. He moved
to the Philadelphia area about 10 years ago to work in training and
development at Hahnemann University Hospital. Along with his
management consulting firm, Stephen W. Oliver and Associates, he
teaches leadership and human resources management at Mercer County
Community College, the University of Pennsylvania, and Villanova
Leadership, Oliver says, "is about dealing with people." A person is
often promoted to a management position "because they are good
technicians. But they’ve never been taught how to be a leader or how
to deal with people." There is a difference between "being a manager
and being a leader," he says. "A leader understands that you have to
do whatever it takes. A leader uses communication to provide
direction, not dictation."
Instead of dictating that a project be completed in a certain way, a
true leader, says Oliver, will "give ideas, provide direction, and
then enable employees to do the job on their own. A leader should be a
mentor and a coach."
Anyone in a management or leadership position needs to be aware of the
fact that they are always leading by example. "If you come to work
early or late, how you act, what you do," he says. "You are being
observed." A leader who is approachable makes it easy for the people
under him to come and discuss problems.
One of the most important aspects of leadership is conflict
resolution, says Oliver. "Whether it is at home or in your business,
conflict is inevitable." How that conflict is dealt with is what is
important, he says. A leader "turns conflict around and makes it a
Everyone has different approaches to conflict. Oliver uses the
Thomas-Kilman Conflict Mode Instrument to describe several approaches
Competitor. This person sees conflict as a competition that must be
won. "It’s my way or the highway," says Oliver.
Avoider. An avoider will do anything to avoid a conflict.
Accommodator. An accommodator "will take care of everyone else’s needs
except their own," says Oliver.
Quick fixer. This person is always looking for the fast and easy way
Collaborator. This type of person tries to get people to come together
to look at the long term.
Everyone has a preference for one or the other of these styles.
However, says Oliver, your preference does not mean that you always
react in the same way to every situation. Often people will react
differently to conflict with different people. And, he adds, if you
are aware of your style preference, you can adjust your style to the
situation. "The worst thing can be to have two competitors in conflict
or two avoiders." In the first case, neither side is willing to be
proved wrong. In the second case, "the two will do everything to avoid
a conflict and never resolve the problem."
Oliver says that while categorizing conflict styles may seem
simplistic, it is not. "It is important to know your style and
understand the style of others," he says. In addition, different
circumstances may call for different methods of resolving conflict. In
a relationship a "competitor" must always be right or may be very
difficult to live with. Not an ideal partner, the competitor can be
the person you want with you in some situations. For example, says
Oliver, "in a hospital emergency room I want a strong-willed person
who can make life and death decisions, who can say, `We’ll discuss it
later. Now step aside.’"
"The bottom line," says Oliver, "is to learn your own conflict style
so that you can work better with other people."
– Karen Hodges Miller
Corrections or additions?
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