Solving Conflict

‘You gotta know when to hold em’

I was amazed at the behind the scenes celebrations in the England Rugby Squad changing room after they had beaten Ireland in the six nations championship. Obviously, I was not surprised by the celebration but perhaps I was, by their chosen celebration song. eye of the tiger, simply the best, we are the champions, I could have easily understood, but Kenny Rogers?

The rugby lads were chanting noisily ‘you gotta know when to hold them, know when to fold them, know when to walk away, know when to run, etc…

A Kenny classic called The Gambler and not just a song, but also a mantra for the teams on field behaviour.

How many of us I wonder, could benefit from living by the same principles? I am sure we can all remember some time in our working lives where we have argued a point, almost to the destruction of the relationship of those arguing and afterwards realised it was not that important.

If Kenny is right it can be occasionally good to walk away. A wonderful story of two farmers arguing over an egg found laid directly under the wire fence between their two farms demonstrates the principle beautifully.

‘That egg is mine’ said Farmer Smith. ‘No, it bloody well isn’t, its mine’ exclaimed Farmer Jones

After several more minutes of heated argument Smith said, ‘We need to settle this like gentlemen, do you agree?’ ‘Damn right, I agree’ said Jones. Ok, what we are going to do is kick each other where it hurts, in turn one after the other. The one who lasts the longest wins the egg and because I am the gentleman here, you can have first kick.’ said Smith. I’m the bloody gentleman here I insist you go first’ replied Jones ‘Very well’ said Smith who proceeded to kick Jones really hard where it hurts.

After a few seconds of rolling in pain Jones got up and said, ‘Ok my turn’ to which Smith said, ‘Keep the egg.’

Conflicts are part of normal everyday life; too few and life is boring, too many and life can become stressful. Conflicts are nearly always caused by people having different points of view or by people trying to achieve what they want at the expense of others.

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