We've all been in the situation where two people strongly disagree on which direction to take with regards to a business or technical strategy. One vendor or another. One process or another. One policy or another. It can become very emotional at times, and often leads to lost productivity and bad feelings that can linger on for days, months or even years. In many cases, the lingering emotional scarring can impact productivity and quality of services for everyone involved. Well, there are some semi-proven ways to deal with these situations in professional, productive and positive ways. And who doesn't like a gosh-darn 3-P solution to a problem? Huh? Golly.
Here's a short list of five (5) suggestions that might help improve the situation and make everyone feel better enough to give each other a big sloppy kiss, without any hidden sharp objects.
Tip 1- Jello Wrestling with a New Twist
This one works great regardless of the gender bias that may exist in the room. Everyone has to consume 1 gallon of Jello powder mix, then drink a 1 liter bottle of soda, and then get in a ring and beat the living crap out of each other. First one to puke all over their opponent, wins.
Tip 2 - Paperwork Shuffle
Everyone in office environments likes to brag about how they suffer with the most paperwork, email, IM calls, voicemails, and so on. Perfect examples of "first world problems" if ever there were any. Imagine trying to elicit tears from a starving mother and her starving group of babies, too famished to swat away the incessant swarm of flies and mosquitoes. They will pity you for sure. So how about putting your money where your mouth is, and challenge the opponent to produce enough evidence to back it up? The one who shows up with the most weight (use an approved scale obviously), wins.
Tip 3 - Marching Band
When the other person won't shut up, start humming the tune to something familiar like "Glory Glory Hallelujah". Start quiet at first, then gradually bring up the volume until you can barely catch your breath in between gasps to belt out that next glorius bar. Bonus points can be earned by pretending to march in formation, by yourself of course, around the conference room.
Tip 4 - Zen
When the other person continues to argue their point, refusing to hear your side at all, just stare at them without blinking as long as you can possibly manage. Never, and I repeat NEVER, blink or look at anything else in the room besides their eyes. They are like source of energy. Feed off of them. If you can stare at them long enough, one of two things are most likely to happen next: (1) they will call security for help, or (2) they will scream like a wounded baby and run down the hall as if zombies are trying to eat them. Either way, the original problem should now become moot.
Tip 5 - Levity
When violence fails to solve a problem, humor often stands a small chance of working. That's what most of the infamous world fascist dictators would say, or so I've heard. Try this instead of a gun or knife: When the opponent begins to raise their voice and shake their head in disagreement over some aspect of the topic at hand, start stripping off clothing until you're only in your underwear. Not all at once, but remove one piece of clothing after each time they speak a phrase in disagreement. When they finally realize what's happening, look at them and wait. If they remain silent, offer this, "if you stop now, I win. If you continue on, I will have to add whipped cream to this and keep moving."
If you try any of these out, be sure to post a comment below to let us all know how it worked out? We'd love to hear your thoughts on this. Have a swell weekend!