Using Conflict To Create A Thriving Retail Business – Amanda Semenoff

amanda rec



“Each conflict is unique! "



How to rectify bad mood and get rid of stress? [18:18]

How to get out of your own headspace? [23:06]

How do you react to people when you notice they are not OK? [26:12]

What do you think you can always resolve the problems?  [42:13]

How to solve problems with your employees and how to recognize things are not good at the moment [43:11]

amanda square


Salena: Hi there and welcome to this week's episode of the bringing business to retail podcast. This week on the show we have Amanda Semenoff and she is going to be sharing with us some great tips on how to deal with conflict which is something that comes up every single day in life and business. So welcome to the show Amanda.

Amanda:  Hello I'm happy to be here.

Salena: Hi so conflict we were just talking before we jumped on air about how Christmas can really bring out the stress in people.
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Amanda: For sure, I mean one of those spaces that we find is that we often have underlying conflicts that have been going on and then when we get really stressed they tend to blow up and so one of the things that I'm kind of excited to talk about is recognizing some of those conflicts in our workplaces before they explode and sort of recognizing. How much they cost us even when they're in that kind of simmering space where they feel safe and we might think it's okay to avoid them for a little bit and then to cut look at maybe what we can do about some of those and how we can resolve them to have more productive and better workplaces.

Salena: And that is so important I know that what people are listening to this well after Christmas, we're just sitting here recording this just before Christmas and I am a little bit stressed out. So I think for me and tell me if this is what other people do is you start to get really nitpicky about things because you have so much on your plate that all these things like you said that way you would normally let slide all of a sudden become really big issues is that common.

Amanda: I think that's really common, I mean what we find is that we allow things to slide when we're okay. So at home at work with our families when we're feeling pretty okay, we have sort of the time and space to assume good intention. So when somebody does something you're like oh they didn't mean to be a total jerk right they were they probably meant something by it and I'm interpreting it badly or you explain away in your own head, if you have a positive relationship with that person how they didn't really mean to do it you assume they meant well.

So you know when your kids leave stuff lying around, when somebody doesn't close up shop properly, when somebody cuts you off in traffic, when you're in a good mood and you're not stressed you're like maybe they're in a really big hurry or you know maybe he just forgot because other stuff is going on in your life. So you'll allow some of those explanations that allow them to continue to be a good person in your mind as soon as we get stressed we start interpreting the things people do in a super negative frame right. So that guy cut me off because he's a really terrible person or my employee didn't lock up properly because they're lazy and useless and we make this shift to deciding they're bad people, when we in our head are explaining why they've done, what they've done because we like to write ourselves these stories about why people are acting the way they're acting.

Salena:  Okay, this is this is a prime example for me right, now in fact I actually started my meeting with one of my team yesterday, I'm sorry, if I snap at you today. I'm really stressed out and I'm really tired and I don't want to get cranky with you, but this is how I'm feeling right now. So if I do that just call me out.

Amanda: 03:28 Well, I think that's a really good step though because what you've done is you've created a level of transparency, so that then if you do snap at somebody or you are shorter and crankier than you would normally be, they're not assuming it's their fault. So everybody's been in a meeting where they get snapped out and suddenly you're sitting there and you think that you have done something wrong, you're never like oh well maybe they just didn't get enough sleep and this is a bit of a rub or a pinch of an interaction or it's a space where it's a little bit difficult.

So perhaps somebody's running late on a deadline and you're really frustrated about them running late on the deadline and you might understand why they're running late. But you have no patience for it and so you're being a little bit harsher than you would be if you weren't stressed out and in that space they can take it very personally and feel like you're attacking them for running late or they can they can feel like you're really stress Stout and you're upset at the thing that's going wrong. And those are two very different spaces for someone to have to sit.

Salena: I was gonna say people are going to react really differently depending on whether they feel upset and persecuted or whether they feel almost empathetic that you're in this position.

Amanda: And it makes a huge difference, so just that little shift in transparency that you know I'm feeling stressed out right, now allows people to see your frustration or your anger or your shortness as being part of you being stressed out and potentially as part of the whatever the meeting is about perhaps, there's a project that's gone off the rails or you know samples that came back and they're terrible or you know some something in your process, isn't working and they can see that frustration as being at the thing that's not working and not necessarily at the specific people at the table and that allows them to be allies instead of enemies going forward.

Salena: Okay, so give us some tips on how to rectify this because I'm sure there are a lot of people, especially at this time of ear which okay you guys are listening to it a little bit later, but no matter what time of ear you listening to this there's always going to be something that is picking at you, you know the kids like you said the kids aren't doing what they're supposed to or someone cut you off in traffic and those little triggers, can just really set you up for a bad day,.

Amanda: Well I think the first one is noticing that you've been triggered, so if you are grumpy grouchy and things are setting you off as being like whoa okay today, I'm a little bit short and once you've noticed that you actually give yourself a lot of control over your own reactions, if you can be transparent, if you say; I am cranky today and you can be kind of open about that the first thing it does is it lowers your sort of rate of losing your temper, it kind of allows you a little bit more self-regulation which is a big deal when dealing with conflict. The second is to label it and label it for people that have to interact with you on a significant time frame.

So I'm not going to necessarily tell the person that like the cashier where I'm checking out at a grocery store. I'm in a really terrible mood, but I will perhaps, let everybody know if I'm sitting down for a meeting or if I'm gonna have like a long conference call or even when I'm getting home from you know a work meeting, I'm gonna let my family know that you know what today has been really hard and I'm super cranky.

And then they know that it's not about them, if I'm a little bit shorter you slightly harsh language because it's a lot harder to clean stuff up after the fact, than it is to get that out ahead of time and then kind of the third piece that I think is sort of really key is in how you're seeing other people. So when somebody really triggers you we have the sense of labeling them as a terrible human being that's something that we all tend to do somebody does something and instead of saying oh I really don't like being cut off in traffic. I think that guy is.

Salena:  A jack face.

Amanda: If you're driving right you know or you sort of instead of being like it's really important to me that the store gets closed up properly at night and I don't like that it wasn't done properly, you think my employee is lazy and useless right and so making that shift back to we're not gonna talk about who that person is, we're gonna think about what is the thing that is bothering me. What actual like behavior like is my collar or my call taker let's say I have an online retail business and I take customer care calls and one of my employees at the call center is being too short with clients and it feels like they're being rude?

So instead of being like that person is rude and I don't want them interacting with my callers we want to say; okay. So what is it about the way they're taking calls makes it feel rude to me are they too short, are they not using proper or what I think of as proper sort of openings and endings to those calls, are they not going that one level deeper, are they not smiling because people can hear smiles. What is the piece that is missing that makes it feel rude and once you know what that sort of behavior is that you want changed, then you can have a conversation with that person that's not personal.

It's not attacking it's not I need you to stop being rude with clients, if you want to keep your job here because that is a conversation they don't know how to deal with and it creates defensiveness and it sounds very differently, if you go in and you say; you know what it's really important to me that we maintain positive brand experience for callers and so I'd really like to hear kind of these three pieces of your conversation shift to look like this. What do you think about that?

Salena: I was just trying to think how would you frame that and you did so much better than would which is great because that's your job.

Amanda: 09:31 that is years of practice that thinking of how do we label a behavior instead of labeling a person because we're never really sure what's going on in someone else's head or why they're behaving the way they're behaving,, but what we see is behavior and so we all think that people are like us and if I was to do that, here's the list of reasons that I would do something like that and generally it's because I don't like you or I don't care and that's a very hard place to be whereas, if you're thinking about maybe culturally this person is behaving a way that's consistent with what they think of as professional.

But that's not what professional means to me and in that space we may have to help people see what we actually want and what it looks like and talking about like we need our customer experience to feel like this and for it to feel like this, here's what I need you to do or here's what I'm seeing that isn't consistent with our overall goal of how customers feel when they are in our store or when they interact with our people.

Salena: I like it do you have any tips for how to get out of your own headspace before you have this conversation?

Amanda: One is to take a little bit of time to kind of breathe and get clear about what it is that you actually need, so if you are calm, if you are Pleasant, if you have gotten over that sort of initial feeling of anger or upset because you know we work really hard to build our businesses and when somebody does something that feels like it's counter to the success of our business, it can make us incredibly angry and incredibly upset very quickly because these are things we've spent a lot of time on and so to take that moment to actually take a deep breath to be curious a little bit about why they would have done that because chances are your employee does not intend to sabotage you right, that's not normal.

Normally they're just trying to do their job and if their environment is positive and they feel supported and they feel like you actually care about them in the workplace and them doing a good job chances are they want to do a good job people like to think that they are good people. They like to behave in ways that are consistent with their self-concept of being hard-working reliable good people and so when we see something that doesn't sit with that self-perception. Generally, the question is what's going on for them that they're not seeing this job the way I'm seeing this job, so in there somewhere is a disconnect and if you can figure out what that is you have the solution to your problem.

Salena: Okay, that is so good because here is something that I have learned after nearly a decade of having people work for me is when it all goes pear-shaped, the first question I ask and I know that my editor listens to this and he will go yes she's done this to me, is it's all going pear-shaped I literally just sent an email and say; hey are you, okay because normally you would you know you would have things to me on time and you'd be chasing me up for example, but I've noticed that lately you know you aren't your usual self are you okay because like you said usually there is something else going on in the background and you know you're people who work for you aren't trying to sabotage you in 99.9 percent of the cases. There could be something else going on at home and you know it did turn out that there was something he wrote back to me and said this is yeah I'm really sorry you feel that way. He's actually what he said and then he went on to explain some things that were happening in his life, so I'm like right it's got nothing to do with me it's you know just some personal stuff happening and so I said right. Okay, so what can we do to try and you know easy bit of workload off you so that you feel okay with how much you have to do. And I think when you really recognize that so if somebody's behavior is out of the norm, it's probably because something else is going on in their lives and instead of getting snappy about it maybe just coin and say are you okay.

Amanda: that's really key that noticing that something isn't normal and then checking in with curiosity because it's not normal and so something has happened and wanting to know what has happened is a very different space than being like hey you're late, what gives right like that, that kind of I'm really curious. This isn't normal what's going on, but we often don't have such a deep relationship with people that we know what normal is.

So it's great, if you have a small retail team and you say you work a bit, you have a couple of key employees and you're really close with them and so you can notice when something is out of the normal, when somebody is slipping up, when you know something is obviously going on because someone is making a series of mistakes that they wouldn't normally make. But what if all you've noticed is the mistakes because you don't have enough of a relationship with them and so in that space we need to deal with it, where we can't be like what's going on? this isn't normal what we have to be able to say is I'm noticing these issues and it's really important to me that this doesn't happen because this is how it this impacts our customer.

And so this there's sort of two kind of spaces where you're not talking about what the person's, who the person is, but you're talking about what the issue is and its impact on customers and then this discussion that is like I trust that you're in this business with the intention of getting stuff right or you're in this job with the hope of being able to do this work properly. And so what do you need to actually do the job right, like why are these mistakes coming up? and sometimes they're really simple things that we haven't thought of before, so if you've hired a scheduler for the first time, but you haven't quite explained what buffers you need around certain types of you know really let's say maybe you know they're scheduling all of your buying meetings.

But you need fifteen minutes before certain meetings about half an hour before other ones to prepare for them properly, but you didn't tell them they'll schedule everything too closely together. So maybe there's information missing or maybe they don't have certain keys or certain skills you might not have quite hired the right person right.

There's lots of things that can have gone wrong in their onboarding process which sits them in a place where they can't actually do the job asking them to do.

Salena: And did you think that sometimes we refuse to kind of go a bit deeper because the problem could be ourselves, the problem is we didn't on board that staff member properly, the problem is we didn't write a process for that, the problem is that we didn't hire the right person. So instead of accepting that we've not done something correctly we just lash out on their actions instead.

Amanda: I think that's actually very common, I think one of the pieces is that often you hire because you're out of time or you hire because you're exhausted or you hire because you're out of skills and so often when we're bringing an extra person in or we're farming out a piece of work to somebody else, we're doing that once we have so much time pressure that we don't necessarily even reel a lot, we just we just need help.

So I need somebody to do opening and closing they need to show up right, now and I don't have time to necessarily onboard them properly. And this is another one of those kind of key places we're dealing with stuff earlier, is way easier than dealing with stuff later that if you write that key process then you don't have these months of minor issues that come out in a major issue. And it is often the work that we have not yet done or things that we didn't actually see and realize were problems you know we are very good at the things we do ourselves and to the point that we kind of assume often that everybody can do those things that come very naturally to us.

Salena: Yes, hang up that's me.

Amanda: Right, so you know if you’re an extrovert you assume that everybody in the world likes to be dealt with like an extrovert, if you're an introvert you assume nobody wants that phone call right. If you are very good at talking to customers you will assume that everybody's going to be really good at that kind of key piece, if you are incredibly clean and you like wipe everything down you don't even think about what actually needs to be wiped down because you just clean every surface every day without thinking about it. It can often be very hard to describe what you do to someone else, so that they would do it correctly.

Salena:  Can I jump in and say that I am one hundred onboard with what you're saying and I recently had a client who had very similar situation and I said to her go and get your team member to write the process themselves and she did and when it came back she's like but all these steps were missing and I said great. But now you have now you know where the problem is. The problem was actually that she hadn't shown her how to do the job correctly, but now you can sit down and say well this was a great start, but what I would like to say is we'll include this here and we'll include this here and if we get this done in here we won't have to do it in the afternoon.

So I think almost like giving them some permission to be okay with what they're doing and saying hey I just want you to write down how you see it and then when you look at that you can go right there's a disconnect there for whatever reason it was there's a disconnect. So now we know what to address it's not about the person, it's about the action.

Amanda:  That's very true and the earlier we address that disconnect the less likely it is to become toxic.

Salena: Definitely.

Amanda: So it's one of those really interesting things that we see over and over and over in conflict they say that you know good people don't leave bad jobs, good people leave bad bosses.

Salena: Yes.

Amanda: So we hear that over and over and over again and so if you're seeing like in your space you happen to have high turnover, there's really there's that kind of space we were like why do we have high turnover like what is going on here and I've always really liked that quote because I'm like what is a bad boss right because people always have this concept, I was like what it what a bad boss looks like and I'm always sitting there and I'm like but it's not most people would never label themselves up as a bad boss.

So what's actually going on their people like have you given them the autonomy people need like do you trust them enough to actually do the job you've laid out to do. Do you see them as being capable if they're not capable why aren't they capable like it if we forgot to delegate appropriately like what are the pieces that are missing and how do we have the conversations with them because there's nothing like having somebody walk around behind you and critique what you do all day and that is brutal. But equally difficult on the other side is when you never get any feedback at all.

Salena:  Yes, definitely.

Amanda: I don't quite feel like I'm doing my job properly, but nobody ever tells me what to do and it's amazing how often we sit on one side or the other side of that, so we'll walk around and we'll critique all the time and they'll just never quite get to right because however, we're saying what we're saying it's not in a way they can hear us or it's not in a way where the opposite is obvious. So I coach a lot of ice hockey and one of the things that we have to think about is that we can't tell kids what not to do, we have to tell them what to do because they can't hear us.

So if I say you shouldn't do it that way the child can't actually integrate that behavior, so if I'm like okay you  can't squeeze your stick they don't understand how to not do that, it's really hard, the negative space is really hard to feel we have to tell them it's okay. So you need to like loosen your bottom hand and you know roll your shoulders back and sink into your knees a little bit more that's something they can do. And when we think about employees that's something else though it's like you can't leave the store filthy is not something that they can necessarily enact.

But it's really important to us that we wipe all the counters down at the end of the day sweep up and shake the mats out well that's something they can do. And so in not thinking about like how are we communicating what needs to be done, is it in negative space where they then have to figure out what the opposite is or is it in a positive space where it's something that they can then go and accomplish.

Salena:           23:03 Yes and I like that example because you didn't even say we have to leave the shop clean because your definition of clean may well be a lot higher than my definition of clean and he's clean tidy. Those two things aren't necessarily the same especially to someone who is really fussy about clean and tidy.

So I think the specificity I can never say that way been specific is really important like he said in terms of having somebody know what it is that you want them to achieve what the outcome should be because otherwise they'll be like well I think I'm doing it okay. Nobody's told me I'm not, so I'll just continue doing it along and meanwhile you're sitting there going can't you see that you have to vacuum at the end of each day.

Well what does that mean right, I mean you could say you know it's really important that we vacuum at the end of each day, but vacuum what, vacuum were, vacuum for how long right like what is it that needs to be accomplished at the end of the day because I could vacuum the entryway every day and never make it into the corner that gets filthy  right. And so those kind of pieces of if it's not being done like what is it that's not being done.

But even if we get the perfect employee that fully understands exactly what they we expect of them and everything is going along and it seems very smooth, you'll still get those spaces where they either are doing stuff that bugs you or something has happened or perhaps you have an interaction between the two employees that's negative or and sometimes it's misunderstanding. Sometimes it's actually very deeply rooted conflict spaces that if we don't uncover them a little bit and figure out how we're gonna work together that things may still go very badly in the work space and we've all felt those spaces.

Those are stores that you walk into you stand in for a moment you turn around and walk back out of because you can cut the tension with a knife you've got two people on the floor that obviously hate one and other. And no one wants to be in that space and it could be that they're on opposite sides of some very key very visceral political issues and you know watching, I'm in Canada and so watching the US. There's a lot of deep divisions and a lot of people who are very upset on both sides and yet at the same time they're both humans.

And so we can have sometimes some of those pieces of deeper conflicts of ideological issues of deeply held beliefs that conflict with the other people in our workspace and that can be on all kinds of grounds that we say; we don't bring these to work. But they come up and work sometimes and can be very divisive and then the question is like can we have those safe conversations and have those kind of in a way that allows those people to work together positively and have had that kind of resume humanize conversation to leave those controversies behind and do the work in a positive way.

Salena: How do you do that; can you give us tips on how you manage when it is that bad.

Amanda: 26:20 Well often the first thing is to label that it is that bad because people often walk around on eggshells not wanting to say anything right. So something has happened and it has often just slowly ratcheted up you know perhaps you found out that somebody in your workplace voted in a way that you find like deeply offensive, but you haven't said anything and then you know and then you happen to in a kind of passive-aggressive way leave out some stuff that lets them know that you're on the other side and it slowly gets more and more tense without necessarily anybody ever actually saying anything and as a manager or an owner, the kind of first piece I think is to have a conversation with each of the people that you're noticing this with and just say hey what's up right, like I'm it feels really tense when I walk, then do you know what's going on and leaving a sort of an openness for that conversation of what's going on here.

And they'll tell you a whole bunch of stuff and the first probably two-thirds of it is rationalizing why they feel so terrible in the space. It'll be they're a terrible human being, I can't stand working with them often, if they're willing to talk at all it's kind of in that like big blown-up kind of space and what we really want to do is we want to get people to talk down to kind of real pieces.

So what is going on and if they can actually like label and bring out examples the problem starts to shrink and so we'll see that lots of times where you know it may be started with like I was really offended about you know this voting space and I'm really upset and part of it'll be I'm really upset about the election. Okay, so you're really upset about the election what does that have to do with you know with the other people we work with and we try not to bring politics to the workspace.

So like what is going on here and then they'll talk a little bit about how they feel perhaps unsupported or maybe there's some other kind of little policies that we're working just fine when everybody was getting along, but maybe now how we share commissions is a problem because we're not getting along and say okay. So now that we're not getting along this other structures broken okay, well would you be comfortable sitting down and having a group dialogue because this isn't working in we can't continue like this.

And then you sort of you talk to each person that's in this space of really not being okay and you are kind of lay out what the issues are and then I would, if I was running it would pull everybody together and go hey I've had the chance to talk with everybody and I'm hearing these are some of the problems that we've been having, how do we solve this as a group and really bring them together around that common theme of we want to keep our jobs, we like working here right.

It's important to us that this is a is a decent place to work and given this current state how are we gonna do that and you can allow people to be upset like it's okay that people disagree about stuff that's okay, where it's not okay is when it's making it a hard place to work. And when people are dreading coming to work in the morning that's where it's not. Okay, so how do you make that feel safe again for everybody.

Salena:  Does it ever get to the point where you just have to let somebody go, do you think there's ever like a make-or-break point, it's just we've tried this and we've tried that and this person just isn't a good fit. What do you think you can always resolve the problems?

I think often a resolution looks like someone leaving right and so that scene is that often through these processes people will figure out that they're not a good fit themselves and that they actually maybe should leave like that definitely occurs where maybe that person is really grumpy because they don't actually want to be here right. I mean that that happens right, somebody's in a job that you know they'd always wanted to do something else and they've all been afraid of taking that step and so they are here and they're working, they're bringing a paycheck home and there's a fear element about transitioning out.

And it's being taken out on their co-workers that definitely occurs where somebody isn't to go to it or they've outgrown their role. So somebody's been in the same role for a very long time they've learned everything that they can learn, it's no longer interesting.

Salena:  That is bored.

Amanda: They're really bored and they're taking it out on the people they work with or on their customers and  you  see that and so then the question is, if you really like this person, if they're amazingly good employees, how do you give them more responsibility and grow their skill set, do they need do they need some training, do they need some more responsibility, is there something that they could do, is there a project you can give them, is there a space where that works within the company or is it a time to like embrace them and let them go on great terms because that also happens.

So it is amazing to support somebody to transition elsewhere, in a way that is really positive. So if somebody is really bored at your company, they're starting to hate their job, they need to leave, they always leave way later than they should. They should have left six months ago usually right that space where they're not happy, you're not happy and they're leaving also means that if they're going to talk to their friends, their relatives, their network about your business it's not in good space. Whereas if you have those conversations early well somebody's like obviously not happy in the job.

But you can support them leaving say hey you know you don't seem really happy, what do you like, what is it that you need to transition out of here, like do you need like two weeks and another job like where is that going, what do you need, what do you want maybe they've applied to school and they haven't told you because they're nervous and is that a space where you can be excited for them that they might be on to something new and big or is that a space where you're terrified of losing them or maybe something in the middle and often you can work other things out where you have a really good employee.

They're thinking of going back to school, but maybe they still want to do ten hours a week instead of hours forty hours a week and you would love to keep them. There's lots of options once we have those conversations and somebody leaving on really positive terms is an ambassador for your company going forward, who will recommend good people to come work for you in the future, right.

I had a great job when I was a teenager and I loved it beyond anything they were amazing, I worked there for three years, it wasn't a fit for me once I had you know my college degree and was moving on, but I've consistently recommended to younger cousins and to friend’s children that maybe they look there to work because it was an amazing experience for me, it would probably be fabulous for them. I'm sending them good people.

Salena: It's funny that you say that because when I had my stores, I always looked at myself as a conduit, I had this knack for being able to find amazing women and not that I didn't want men it was just that women came to jobs, who wanted to return to the workforce after having children and they just didn't have the confidence to go back into corporate job sometimes they've been out of the workforce you know five to seven years and I really quickly discovered that they would come to work with me for like two to three years.

And they would feel, so empowered afterwards because they'd learn all these little new skills because that happens when you give people autonomy. And when you're in small business you can do that you can let them dabble in social media you can let them write blog post, you can let them take photos all these little hidden superpowers that they have and then they're so confident you know eighteen months, two years, three years, that they can feel okay going back into the corporate world and you should be really happy for them when they do that, don't take it as a personal affront.

I was always so proud of how you can hear in my voice. So proud of how far they come. When they left, it was always really sad, but I was just so excited for them that they found you know a whole new life because they'd worked with me in my store.

Amanda: And if you can make that open and positive and supportive that transition of out so that kind of off-boarding process, if that can be super positive, if you can have those kind of conversations early then you can maintain those connections with people that are often then in allied fields, as these really positive Network connections that you have ongoing that are incredibly valuable for your business in the long run.

Salena: It takes looking at it in a different way which is what you've been saying all along.

Amanda: But it's interesting one of those kind of spaces where you can have like small issues with employees like let's say you bring in somebody new and there fabulous and you love them and they really enjoy photography and social media and what you're finding is that, they're doing more and more and more social media marketing and less and less and less of whatever you originally hired them to do and that other job was actually really important to you right and you are kind of have this.

But you've let it slide maybe a little bit too long and now it's an awkward conversation and so what I see with a lot of people that contact me is they kind of they sit in one of two camps is that they either are afraid to have that conversation or that conversation was had and went really badly and now they're kind of trying to pick up the pieces of like so I needed them to do their original job.

But I didn't communicate it very well and now we're our relationship has been damaged a little bit or they keep trying to have this conversation, but there's some kind of a lot of us are conflict avoiders we don't like having hard conversations, there's a fear there and so what they need to have that slightly awkward conversation and the sooner you have it the more likely it is to be an awkward conversation and not a toxic conversation is that you know so this was your original job and this is where we are now and so that conversation can be a little bit tricky you know when you're sort of seeing that an employee has flourished in one area.

But it's not necessarily an area your business needs maybe social marketing is a little bit as useful for you but you don't get returns on it after you know I definitely notice for me a little bit of social is good and a lot of social is no more useful than a little bit of social and so I mean for other businesses that model will be very different, but you know maybe you know a couple hours a week is all you need them to do social. But they're at half the job and so how do you have that sort of recalibration conversation when you know that this is what they love.

They're obviously really into this part and not so much into these other pieces and that conversation can feel really scary especially, if you don't have a lot of practice having those kinds of conversations and so there's kind of a few keys to sort of making it go as well as possible. And I think the first one is to actually schedule it for yourself and for them, so that you know you're going to have it, that allows you to make sure it gets done and it gets done earlier instead of later because it's really easy to intend to talk to them the next time you see them. We'll do it, I'll be in on Thursday they'll be in on Thursday we'll do it Thursday morning.

Then Thursday morning comes and there's other stuff that's busy and you don't really want to have it and so you just put it off a week. But once you've put it off two or three or four or five times not only has the situation become normal so that patterns harder to break, but your emotion around it has gotten bigger.

Salena: 38:10 Yes because it doesn’t know this was a problem, but main while it's festering for you.

Amanda: And as it festers the chances that you can have that conversation in a way that's positive gets smaller and smaller and smaller right and if you don't schedule it the chances that conversation starts as a blow up gets higher and higher.

Salena: You are really putting us on the spot here aren't you you're saying responsible, it is time to be a business owner, it is time to just man up or woman up and tackle these things before they become a huge issue.

Amanda: You have to embrace them when they're awkward before they get toxic. We do that with cash flow, we do that with product alignment, we do that in all kinds of places and one of the keys is in our conflict spaces. So there's something that's awkward and you can feel it you can feel it in your gut when you're like you don't really want to talk about it and that's exactly when you have to come up with a plan for yourself to deal with it.

Salena:  I'm just trying to think of some examples here, some of my clients that I know have gone through all of, do you think that you're going too far when you start to _ I was gonna say regulate people, but that's not what I mean, but I mean really making them accountable for what it is, they're doing.

So you know saying how much time does it take for you to do this and I'm just thinking one of my clients did the process thing and asked one of them to write down the process and then also asked how long it took and when she looked at what they'd done in the time, she was a little bit upset because she was thinking but that shouldn't take you that long so you want yet for her it was you know not only are you not doing the job correctly, but you're doing it in a much longer timeframe.

So we did go back and have that conversation of well this is your process, but this is what we want the process to look like and we want you to do this in the same amount of time. So do you think you can do that or is that like stage two do you think you have the conversation first and then you bring in the regulation for want of a better word.

Amanda: Well if you have to be really clear with yourself and with them as to why you think you need regulation and what its purpose is.

Salena: Interesting.

Amanda:  So if you need regulation because you don't trust them then the problem is trust the problem isn't the regulation and no amount of regulation will build trust.

Salena: Interesting.

Amanda:  You cannot regulate trust right and so if you need to be like let's say we are growing and we need to know what our processes is so that they can be standardized, so we can bring somebody in to help you, so we know if you're too busy what processes to offload that's a very different reason to have some sort of standardized processes. If we're looking at what are your skills, what are you good at what are you really efficient at would you like what would you like to do more of where maybe should somebody else take over you know I'm really good at a certain set of processes and really not as good at another set of processes.

I hate them they take me forever and so if I'm gonna offload something, if you were to kind of look at what I do in my business, the best places for me to offload are those places I'm inefficient.

Salena:  Of course.

Amanda: And so if we're really clear about why we want regulations processes if we want time stamps for things like what is our purpose and wanting those things, then it's much easier to have that those kinds of conversations with somebody where we're at kind of the root of what it is and we're likely to get things that are actually useful for what we want them for. So if I need to know what the details of your job are because I'm not there and I don't always understand what you do that's a very different piece. I work with a lot of tech groups and you'll often have somebody in sales and somebody that's a coder and those two people do not understand one another's jobs.

Amanda: You don't understand one another's jobs at all and so some of that process pieces and what takes how long is about understanding what the other people do in the organization so that they can actually appropriate leave value one another skill sets, when they come down to talking about who gets how much money right.

They can do an appropriate split of assets or of interests in a business because now they actually understand who does what for how long or you know maybe they can figure out which pieces are appropriate to farm out to another organization you know, if you have I've worked a little bit with a local bakery and one of the things that they found is that one of their people who was incredibly good at bread was taking forever to ice things and they hired somebody else to just vising.

Salena: That’s a big step isn’t it.

Amanda: It's huge they were at the point where they knew they needed to hire another person and so they were trying to figure out what that extra person should like you know and they were just gonna hire a general baker and a general Baker does all the things and they decided actually to split the rolls and specialize once they did a process analysis of one of their employees, who is now doing stuff they like more and stuff they like less aren't as good at or a little bit less confident about has been given to the new person who came in who thinks that's amazing right and so…

Salena: 44:12 I was gonna say that's really key to know just go back to what you said a few minutes ago about knowing why you want to regulate someone and I'm thinking I've got a couple of examples going through my mind and I think a lot of the time it's that you feel like you've lost the trust. But in this situation, they were open-minded and they were like right it's not that you're slacking off it's just simply you're not good at this thing, it's not your forte.

Amanda:  Well and there's other pieces and there's other reasons that we can want stuff, so let's say we have business insurance, we might for our overnight vandalism and theft insurance to work have to have our premises locked up every night in a specific way and be able to confirm that, so that if something happens overnight the insurance covers you right. I might need to know that you did this exactly correctly and signed it off, so I can prove to a third party that it was done properly and that's not about micromanaging somebody that's about you know I need this in case something goes wrong.

And so a lot of it is about like why do we actually need to have whatever it is done and Trust is an interesting piece like when there's been a breakdown and trust in a breakdown in relationship often it's about these kind of little things that haven't been going right for a long time. And so what you don't actually necessarily need like certain kinds of you know process regulation you just you need to know that they're gonna do their job to the best of their ability and for some reason that's not occurring.

And so it may be that they have stuff going on in their background of their life again like we're back to that piece or maybe they don't want to work here anymore or maybe you know they don't have the tools to do the job right. And so you're seeing that somebody is doing four hours of social media work a day well maybe it's time to get them you know a social media managing set a software and cut that down to forty-five minutes or like a lot of times when people's like when things don't look right sometimes it's our tools.

Salena: Definitely,

Salena: I know tools are they're one of those things that just can make your life so much easier and so much harder, now you have just shared so much I'm going to I'm going to finish it up there before we could run down that rabbit hole or many conversations. But I think that is the perfect opportunity to just appreciate that we don't always_ sometimes we take things at face value and sometimes we need to dig a little bit deeper and if people need some help with that you are the go-to person. So if someone is finding that their work space is a little bit stressed out and they need some conflict help or even if their home space is a little bit off-kilter where can we find you.

Amanda:  So you can find me online at mindful resolution.CA or Amanda Semenoff, there aren't that many of us in the world Google usually finds me pretty quickly and then I've got put together a special offer for your listeners. So if you go to mine Flo resolution CA / Selena you'll see just a little landing page where you can book a conflict consultation. there I do thirty-minute consultation is always free because I have to know a lot more about your business before we can figure out what you actually need.

But any type of conflict resolution services booked, it during that conversation will be ten percent off for your listeners that is very generous thank you. Now I have one last little series of questions for you which is are you an in-store shopper or an online shopper?

Amanda:  I am an online shopper, if I don't care about the product.

Salena:  Okay, so let's keep that and go to what is your favorite store.

Amanda: My absolute favorite store right now is our local little Italian bakery, I love them.

Salena:  why you love them.

Amanda: Well not only is their store beautifully laid out and it's all full of yummy, but they are just really fabulous, so they know my kids names they always are happy to have us in there and then the product is incredibly high-quality. So we can get like lovely Italian brands and other sorts of things that aren't that easy to find sometimes, so it's that nice combination of like local and lovely and hard to find good quality stuff.
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Salena:  A true destination stores, well thank you so much I always love to know what makes people go back to shops again and again and that you just said being unique, being somewhere that people really want to go and hang out that is what I preach to people, is if you be that kind of store then people will always come back again and again.


Amanda is a civil mediator, facilitator and conflict resolution consultant in New Westminster, BC. She works with start-ups, entrepreneurs and tech companies to pre-wire them to thrive through conflict and change. She helps businesses address conflicts in ways that build them up instead of tearing them apart.  She likes weird and sticky problems, and numbers.
Amanda co-hosts the Overthinking Conflict Podcast, which explores are the interesting and controversial corners of peacemaking. She is also an active member of PignPotato Games, a collective of mediators, lawyers and creatives designing collaborative games to further dispute resolution, teach teamwork skills and change the dynamics of family game night.
Amanda has a background in emergency services and communications, BA(Economics) from UBC and ConRes Cert(Mediation) from the Justice Institute of BC. She has 2 kids, a dog and coaches hockey in her spare time.

“Each week I interview industry and thought leaders for their take on business and life”