Struggling to deal with conflict?

Are you working with a colleague whose behaviour is unacceptable? Or an extremely challenging client that is demanding way more of your time than what’s stated in your contract?

If you’re someone who won’t say anything deal with conflictbut tend to keep your frustrations to yourself then you need to listen to today’s show, especially if you want to keep your stress and blood pressure levels at a healthy level.

According to Annemarie Cross’s guest Donna Smith, Holistic Counselor and Trainer from Own Your Own Power keeping things bottled up inside is one of the worst things you can do.

Learn about: 

  • The importance of having clear boundaries
  • Why it’s crucial to deal with a situation immediately (before it escalates)
  • How to avoid ending up in a heated argument where nobody wins

Also find out about Donna’s 6-step process that will provide you with the right skills you need to create a win / win solution so that both parties are happy and can continue to respect each other’s boundaries. Your blood pressure will thank you!

Annemarie Cross is also joined by Meridith Elliott Powell – Author of 42 Rules to Turn Prospects into Customers. Today, Meridith talks about Rule 31, Learn to Love Accountability. If you want to turn your prospects into customers you have to start tracking your behaviours, measure your progress and learn from your results. Meridith shows you how.

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Show Transcript: Win-Win Outcomes: How to deal with conflict effectively

(Jazzy background talk show intro music)

Annemarie: Hi, welcome to the Ambitious Entrepreneur Show. I’m your host, Annemarie Cross. Do you find yourself in situations of conflict and have no idea how you got there or how to address it and move forward? Or is there someone that despite how hard you try, you always seem to end up in a heated argument, and no matter what you say you just can’t fix it.

Donna Smith joins me today to share her six-step process on how to resolve a conflict to achieve a win-win outcome for both of you. So stick around.

(Musical interlude, then music fades out)

Annemarie: Have you ever been in a situation where someone just seems to know how to push your buttons the wrong way? And no matter how hard you try to ignore them or shut them out, you just can’t. They’re driving you crazy and then all of a sudden you get to the stage where you just can’t keep it inside anymore. You explode. Now I’m sure each and every one of us, at one point in our life or in our business has experienced that situation.

And according to my guest Donna Smith, who is a holistic counselor and trainer, she believes that remaining silent and letting things fester if they annoy you is the worst thing that you can do. And that if you do, it’ll inevitably turn into a conflict situation sometime down the track. So to find out how we should better deal with situations of conflict and how to avoid conflict in the first place, let’s welcome Donna to the call. Welcome to the call Donna.

Donna: Hi Annemarie, nice to meet you.

Annemarie: Conflict. Now this is something that I know a lot of my colleagues would say, “Don’t like conflict at all” and others say, “Bring it on.” So I think this is a topic that is going to be of interest to many many listeners. Now you’re someone that deals in this industry of course, so what would you say – how would you define what conflict actually is?

Donna: Look, conflict in its simplest form is basically a disagreement or an argument between two people or more. So that’s in a nutshell.

Annemarie: I think when we’re talking about conflict, depending on your personality or behavioral style, for some people when they have a minor argument or bit of a disagreement they may feel terrible. Where others might just say, “You know what, we’re just having a debate. That’s fine; that’s fine.” But whatever way that we think about it we need to be aware of how it is impacting what we’re doing, what we’re saying, and how this could impact the relationship on the long term basis.

Because as we know as ambitious entrepreneurs, everything that we do is relationships. Whether it be a colleague, whether it be a staff member or a team member, or whether it be a prospect, or even an existing client. So it’s very important to be aware of.

Donna: Absolutely, absolutely.

Annemarie: So when you’re thinking about conflict then, you probably don’t want to get into a stage where something has escalated into something where the two parties are in disagreement. So what are some suggestions that you had that people can avoid getting to a state where they are having a conflict situation with someone.

Donna: Well Annemarie, I feel boundaries come into this conversation quite prominently. And basically that’s because often, and it’s not only in our primary relationships, or our relationships at home, but definitely at work, we can tend to put others’ needs before our own.

So we tend to not, we tend to say “Yes,” when we’re needing actually to say, “No.”  So hence the secretary at work – the work load building up, but we’re not speaking up, and hence if we have poor boundaries there starts to be a sense of frustration cause I’m not meeting those work load needs of my boss, and then it becomes anger because I start to get resentful at him and then it does turn into resentment.

And then we have a conflict basically. So the secretary has something she does need to address with her boss, but of course, how does she do that? So boundaries really are essential.

Annemarie: Yeah

Donna: Good boundaries.

Annemarie: As you were talking about that example, I can see that happening. Especially for us women entrepreneurs, who want to make sure that we deliver the best of our service and the best of us to the relationships with our clients. However, what can often happen is if you do not set clear boundaries you can end up giving way too much than for what the client paid you for.

And rather than saying something to them, such as: “you know what, when we established the contract, this is what we said and at the moment, this is actually outside what the contract has allowed for. I am happy to alter the contract.”

But if we don’t do that, it could just build up inside. It can fester, can’t it to the point that we do then explode and probably over react. Far more than if we had of addressed it right at the initial time it the situation occurred. We would have taken a far different approach.

Donna: Absolutely, that’s spot on. And I think often as you alerted to depending on what our style of conflict is, you know, what we – what you and your family at home growing up. So whether we want to avoid it, or whether we want to, you know, take it front on. If we are trying to avoid it, often with that behavior of having poor boundary function we actually going to get exactly more of what we’re not wanting to deal with.

Because we get to that resentment stage. Where as if we were frustrated it’s a lot easier to express that frustration rather than by the time it’s built and built over a period of time. And two it remembering, you know, we’re talking about a client, a business relationship with your client.

We all co-create relationships so you know, when you’re feeling disgruntled because you’ve given too much it’s a wall, you know – and would like to blame the client for asking. The reality is that it’s the game you played between both of you is that you haven’t been clear about your boundaries, they can ask. And hence the outcome is the outcome, depending on how clear you’ve been.

Annemarie: I know a lot of our listeners operate a home based businesses, and a couple of things that people have said, that have been left, again we’re talking about boundaries here, and it’s been left to the point where something did fester and all of a sudden explode was: when you have friends or colleagues that think that they can pop around at anytime.

I had this situation that happened to me yesterday, and I tell you what – my blood boiled. I had a girlfriend ring and ask, “Are you busy?” I felt like saying, “Why do you always ask if I’m busy, of course I’m busy.” She said, “Well I’ve got a job interview tomorrow, can you update my resume?” [That’s one of the things I did in another life/business].

Donna: Yes.

Annemarie: And I felt like “Ugg…” And she said, “I just want you to check it through” And I was like, “Uh, yeah, alright then…” Anyway, then she sent it through and also asked: “Can you add this to it? And while you’re there, can you do this too?” I tell you what, that was a definite boundary issue.

I can either choose to say to her, “You know what, well actually I’m happy to do this, but…” But, if I choose not to do that, that could fester and really could then turn into a conflict, if all of a sudden I say to her, you know “You’re always doing this…” I’m sure, many of us can relate to that.

Donna: Exactly, you know. It’s that saying yes, when you’re really wanting to say no.

Annemarie: Yeah

Donna:Basically, it’s us calling us on our own sort of behavior or our own style of, you know, interacting with others.

Annemarie: I think when we’re talking about boundaries, we need to recognize that we do have control over whatever situation we are in. Whether we are dealing colleagues, a spouse, or whether it is your business partner, or a client. Or your boss you know, if you’re working for someone. You really do have a part in that relationship. Because quite often we feel that we don’t have control. Is that something that you find when you’re working with a lot of your clients?

Donna: Absolutely, people have a lot more control over areas of their life that they think they don’t. You know? Clearly there are some things, or circumstances, which are out of their control. But we are – for the majority of it, we do have control of. And that’s a real eye opener for some of them. And that’s the empowering part of it.

Annemarie: Yeah.

Donna: That’s, you know, how they do become empowered to, you know, they can create change in their life.

Annemarie: It’s like an ah-ha moment.

Donna: Mmhmm

Annemarie: Okay, yes, I am also part of the equation, so..

Donna: Mmhmm, yeah, damn!

Annemarie: Exactly! We’ve got no one else to blame but ourselves. So, say we’ve got ourselves into a situation where we recognize then that perhaps we should’ve done something prior – what are some of the ways that you suggest to people that if they do find themselves in a situation where conflict has arisen, what’s the best way to address it then?

Donna: Well firstly when you’re actually frustrated about something or you’re angry about something. There’s a form of communication that I teach my clients which is called a confrontive I message. And some people when they hear that, hear “confrontation” and again it’s a bit like “Conflict, woah!”

However the actual definition of confrontation is meeting face to face. That is the actual definition of it. And just quickly the confrontive I message is basically three parts. It’s about how you feel, that’s the first part. The second part is about the situation. And the third part is the tangible impact on you. And when you express that to somebody that’s when the dialog can begin.

So until somebody knows what’s going on for you how can they address it? Basically it is your problem, until you express it to somebody else.

Annemarie: Yeah

Donna: And then you can begin to hopefully work together to come up with the best possible outcome for you both. You know, it gives them an opportunity to then express how they feel about that, what’s going on for them. And basically the journey begins.

Annemarie: Okay, I love those three steps. So, do you want to run through a bit of a scenario?

Actually on last week’s show we spoke to Erika Forbes and she deals with coupleprenuers. Now I think this would be such a great way for husbands and wives who work together that this would be a great way to bring something up, but in a way that’s not going to continue to cause conflict. That could certainly encroach upon into their personal lives. So you’re talking about something that how you make the situation makes you feel. Is that how you would start off the conversation

Donna: Absolutely, and basically, when you’re what I call, formulating your I message, your confrontive I message, it begins to get you in touch with you.

  • So what is actually going on for me, what am I feeling? And that is about, as I said, getting to know you, again.
  • And then it’s about working out – well what is the real situation here that I am unhappy about? So what is that?
  • And then the third part, as I said, is the tangible effect.
  • And if you can’t come up with a tangible effect (i.e. time, energy, it’s an emotional strain) you’ll find it involves collision. Which is another area all together.

So hence, you know the couple that maybe worked together, they’re working long hours, she maybe really wanting to entertain more but they’re caught up at the office. You know, it could be as simple as, you know “honey, I’m feeling really frustrated, and quite sad actually that we’re working back so late these days. I’m not getting to entertain, we’re not getting to catch up socially with, you know, our friends. And, you know, I just feel I’m losing touch with them because of that.”

Yeah, that’s the impact, she feels like she’s losing touch. And until, you know, she expresses this to him, he may be unaware of the situation.

Also at the same time though, it’s not blaming him for the thing, the office, maybe he is more driven, or maybe it’s something they do need to do, and he’s happy to do it, he’s not as interested in the social side of it, but when he hears how, what’s going on for her. How she’s feeling about it. How it’s impacting on her and what she would like. Well then that gives her the grandest possibility of her needs being met. And him wanting to meet those needs at the same time if he’s able to. You know, so it opens up that dialog.

Annemarie: And as you said, normally what people would tend to do in the heat of the moment, would be to burst out with something like: “You know you’re just – you’re not doing your end of the bargain, and you’re not letting me do this and …..“ And rather this is really just flipping it on it’s head. And so, as you said, allowing that person to really to get in touch with how they’re feeling, how it’s impacting them.

And therefore in a far better way of approaching it, and I would say, if that were me, if someone came to me and approach me in that way, it really would have me say, “I don’t want to have you feeling that way. Let’s come to an arrangement, let’s work this out. Let’s talk, what can we do?” So again, it really does empower the person who’s speaking, but also can empower the other person to say, “Let’s work together to find out a solution that works for both of us.”

Donna: Absolutely, and what it’s also doing, it’s taking out that “It’s your– it’s because of you” or “when you do this” and naturally anybody on the other end of that is going to come back with quite a defensive, aggressive, and sometimes angry response. Which, where does that get us? It doesn’t get us anywhere.

Annemarie: No…

Donna: And certainly in my own life, and with the clients that I’ve introduced this too, it’s a gem. Trust me, it’s a gem.

Annemarie: Well you really do take control of that situation, but it’s done in a way where it doesn’t suddenly turn into a huge argument. Because then no one’s point of view, no one’s feelings are getting heard and you end up leaving that whole situation far worse than what you felt when going in. Because it’s just building up.

Donna: Exactly

Annemarie: So when we’re talking about boundaries and not sticking to our boundaries – how do they then create or contribute to conflict?

Donna: Well it’s interesting because it all – well the underlying premise of it all, is about our needs. And when there is conflict it means that someone’s need aren’t getting met. And often someone’s need aren’t getting met because they’ve had poor boundary function and they’ve said yes, when they really wanted to say no. And that’s, I suppose, the journey for that person to understand why they do say yes when they really want to say no.

Why are you saying yes to your friend when you’re really under the pump and yes you are really busy. When you may prefer –  maybe really underneath be wanting to say no. So…

Annemarie: If she’s listening to this show I don’t think she’ll be asking me again. That’s for sure

(both laughing)

Annemarie: I think for some of our listeners, we don’t want to hurt he other person’s feelings by saying no. We want to be liked. However we need to step up to that and ensure that our needs are getting met by sticking to our boundaries and saying, “Hey, you know what, in my case, I am really busy. I would love to help you however at this time I’ve got so much on my plate. I’m not going to be able to support you in this. I’m sorry.”

Donna: Perfect

Annemarie: So it doesn’t fester up.

Donna: Exactly,

Annemarie: Yeah

Donna: And unfortunately either in our upbringings our needs weren’t met as children so we don’t even know that we’ve got needs or what they are. Sometimes in relationships, you know, we tend – we often and especially as mothers, put children’s needs and our husbands needs before our own. And hence we start to lose ourselves.

So one of the ways to someone, you know, I didn’t even know I had needs. So how do I work out what my needs are? Well I certainly know what I don’t want. And if I know what I don’t want, then I can flip that around to well what do I want?

Annemarie: Yeah, yeah.

Donna: So that’s starting to tap into: well what do I want? What do I need?

Annemarie: If we don’t say anything; if we keep it bottled up inside, how on earth is the other person ever going to know? Then you’re going to get to the point where you just explode. The last straw that broke the camel’s back, you know that saying, and then all of a sudden there’s the conflict, there’s the anger.

Donna: Yeah

Annemarie: Or I’m leaving my job, you know, I’ve had enough and the boss is basically unaware. It’s hitting him from a six. It’s come out of left field for him because you know. You’ve been there for five years and you’ve not expressed anything.

Donna: Exactly, and I think if you put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Then you can really feel if all of a sudden someone says to you, “Well I’m unhappy here” and all of a sudden they explode. “Well hang on a minute, I really wish you would’ve approached me earlier. And so that we could talk about this and established some boundary rules and some guidelines to help you overcome that.” So sometimes, just by putting yourself in their shoes can certainly help.

Annemarie: I’m getting so many notes already Donna, this is fantastic. So I want to find out a little bit more about the skills that you believe we need to create a win-win solution. So stay on the line as we catch up with Meredith Elliot Powell, our sales expert to find out how we can convert prospect into customers.

(Jazzy, upbeat interlude music. Then fades out)

Annemarie: So welcome to the show Meredith

Meredith: Well thank you Annemarie, I’m very happy to be here.

Annemarie: So what lessons are we going to learn today?

Meredith: Well today we’re going to focus on rule number 31, and that is to learn to love accountability


Annemarie: And I think we all need to do that.

Meredith: That’s great because accountability seems to be one of those words that especially as salespeople, especially as entrepreneurs and business owners that we tend to shy away from. You know, I always joke that a sales person, when anybody starts talking to you about goals, about prospect relationships, about management, about tracking your progress, and measuring results it starts to sounds little bit like Charlie Brown’s teacher. All we hear is “Wha-wha wha micromanagement wha-wha-wha”


Annemarie: Exactly.

Meredith: But if you truly want to master sales and build trust and value and economy, then you’ve just got to love and embrace and get excited about accountability. And I believe accountability is misunderstood and misused as a term. Because it’s often used – thought of, as a way we catch people doing something wrong. Rather than being used as a way to help people do more things right.

Annemarie: So we really do need to re-frame our mindset around that so that we’re not looking at it as a negative, but really a positive and a supporting aspect of our business and when it comes to sales.

Meredith: Exactly, I mean the reason, truly the reason that you establish a goal, track your behaviors, measure your results is to learn. To learn from what you’re doing well and to understand what you’re not doing well, so that you can change those behaviors to do better. You know, accountability is really that time that you take a breather and you say, “Gosh, I’ve worked so hard this last month. Let me look at the actual results I’ve gotten.”

And it’s a time to reflect and say, “Okay, let me think about this past month. What have I done that’s got the results I want, or what haven’t I done. Or what have I done that hasn’t really led to the results I wanted.” So that you can be on this continuous improvement program. So that you get to a point where you work smarter, instead of harder. And again, accountability is not what about you didn’t do. It’s about figuring out how to do what you do, better.

Annemarie: And I think too, for a lot of people, that when you don’t track and measure review, you often forget to celebrate the small successes, and not just the small successes, but the successes because we’re moving so quickly from one project to another. This is a great way to say, “hey, this is working really well, I’ve got to do more of that.” And we miss that, don’t we Meredith, when we’re not tracking and we’re not keeping ourselves accountable.

Meredith: Absolutely, you know, accountability is the time where you sort of get your head up, outside of your business. And you got a chance to reflect and say, “Wow I’d completely forgotten all the success that I had.” Because I do think as entrepreneurs and as business owners, we tend to sometimes focus on what we don’t get done, or what doesn’t get accomplished. Because we all move at a hundred miles an hour. And it’s important to take that breather. But you know, Annemarie, here’s the other important piece of accountability. I just love this story, I always joke that I’m a recovering banker

(both laughing)

Meredith: But for years I was a banker, and just like in many financial institutions we introduced sales. And we did all the traditional things. We bought a customer relationship management system. And we tracked, and we measured our associates and dismal results. But I had this wonderful manager that reported to me, and in his branch he had a teller. Who was just embracing the process of sales. She did all the behaviors she was suppose to do, and she called people and she entered all her information. But she just got no bottom line results.

He brought her into his office one Friday afternoon. And he said, “Tina, thank you, you’ve done an amazing job at doing everything that we’ve asked you to do. But I’m worried you’re just not getting results.” And she was just  bursts into tears. And he said, being a man, that scared him to death.

(both laughing)

Meredith: And he said, “Let’s go make a few calls together.” And by the time he listened to her make her second call, he knew what her problem was, and he said, “why don’t you listen to me?” And she listened to him, and you know, the end of the story is she ended up being the exceptional teller of the year for our region. It never would’ve happened without accountability.

What I say to so many of my clients, and especially with entrepreneurs, we’re so isolated. And if you don’t track and measure, if you don’t have something on a piece of paper or on a spreadsheet, that you can turn around, and you can ask a business coach, or just ask a friend who’s more successful than you are, “Look, this is what I’m doing. And I’m not getting the results I want. What do you think?”

Somebody else can give you that little sliver of advice. That can just put you over the edge because I think there is nothing more frustrating than working yourself to death and not getting the results that you want.

Annemarie: Absolutely. And you know it may just be one small little thing. One small little change that when you integrate, all of a sudden everything just falls into place. And you’re rockin’ ‘n’ rollin’ and you know, you’re converting your prospects into clients. But you’re never going to know that unless you’re tracking and monitoring and reaching out, as you said to people, who are really doing well in those sorts of things and can become mentors and supporters for you in that area. So very important.

And you know that I often get scared when I listen to people, particularly entrepreneurs and business people. Say, “well you know what, I don’t really set goals.”

Meredith: Yes

Annemarie: “I really love the flexibility and creativity element of my business.” Absolutely, I think that’s really very important. But if you’re setting these parameters inparticularly with what you’re talking about today: accountability – that is going to allow you to be even more creative, with more time to be flexible and creative. Because of the fact that all the other things you’re doing work. They work for you and you know they work because you can track, monitor, and tweek it to adjust and assure the right results.

Meredith: Absolutely. I love what you said about often it’s one small thing. It is so often one little thing. Just a tiny thing. You got 90% of it right. But again, I mean I got to know the work that you do and the clients and nothing is more frustrating than when someone comes to me and tells me the story of what they’re doing wrong, but I’ve got no way at looking at the history of what they’ve done.

And the reason that’s frustrating to me is, it doesn’t mean I can’t help them because I can, but we’re going to have to start now. Tracking it so I can get a look at it, verses if you learn to love accountability. And that is where my paradigm is on accountability. I don’t look at it as a way to see what I’m not doing. That’s a discipline issue. What I look at it as, “Now I’ve got something on paper and I can show other people what I’m doing so that I can get the help that I need to move my business to another level. And accountability is important to your point whether you’re successful or whether you’re not because we always can get a piece of advice from someone who can help us go to another level.

Annemarie: Absolutely. Very important. You know, even from a personal level, I know when I have that accountability there. I have an accountability partner. It’s amazing the amount of work that you can get done, the results that you can generate, once you just implement that process. Everything falls into line, because as you know in that back of your mind you have this accountability and I think as entrepreneurs we need to get interested, we need to be curious about what’s happening, how can we track and measure that? I think something that’s just vital to be able to implement. I love that rule, just love it!

Meredith: Well, what I love to hear coming out of you is why I call this rule, learn to love accountability. Because the more that we talk about it, you can hear the passion coming up in both of our voices. And yeah, it’s just one of those words that as often as we cringe about it. You know, “ew, accountability” where it is a word where really we need to view differently because there is gold in that information.

Annemarie: Yeah

Meredith: I mean there is true discovery about your business. That if you’ll just track and measure it, boy, it’s almost like get a little motor that gets behind your business. And when you start tracking and measuring and discovering about things, that motor gets gas, or gets turned on, and you just go that much faster and that much farther.

Annemarie: Absolutely. Fantastic, so rule number 31, learn to love accountability. And I love the way that you open that paragraph. “I love accountability.”

(both laughing)

Meredith: That’s right, that’s right.

Annemarie: Which is just so true, which is why you’re successful in what you do. And of course you can get a copy of Meredith’s book, “42 Rules to Turn Prospects into Customers” All you need to do is go to That’s

I think as I’ve said again and again, and I’ll say it again, this is a book that every entrepreneur needs to have on their bookshelf because it’s a way of selling authentically. And I love that. It’s none of that hard pushy, you know those sales people. Actually my husband and I were at a car sales yard just the other day because we were having a look at things, and I went into that with my arms folded and you know I thought, “you just try and come up to me” I was thinking about your book and a lot of the rules that we talked about. And I thought I should really bring a copy of your book and say, “Hey, before you even talk to me, you need to read this book.

(both laughing)

Annemarie: And change your sales approach because oh I tell you what, some people just really don’t know what they don’t know.”

Meredith: Absolutely, absolutely. You know, Annemarie, one thing I want to add is, you know, as we were sitting here talking about it, and you mentioned, you know, my success, and I know that you’re quite successful. The thing that you’ve got to feel in your business is the reason I want people to read the book is because yes, I am successful, my business has gone gang busters this year, but what I’m doing is not rocket science. And what I’m doing is literally something that every entrepreneur can do. And I want everybody to be successful.

Annemarie: Meredith, as always it’s been such a pleasure to have you on the show. You really are very inspirational. I love all the rules that you have in your book. And I’m lucky because I’ve got a copy of that. So again, for everyone the website to go to is and grab a copy of “42 Rules to Turn Prospects into Customers.” Thanks again Meredith, it’s been great to catch up.

Meredith: Thank you Annemarie.

(Jazzy, upbeat musical interlude then fades out)

Annemarie: And welcome back, this is Annemarie Cross. And I’m speaking with Donna Smith about how to resolve and avoid situations of conflict. We really do need to stand up and say you know what, by not putting – or letting the other person know about these boundaries and this is not okay with me. These are skills that we really need to develop.

So do you have any advice on how to do that? For someone – because I know people who’ve often always said yes, and they want to be the person that helps and provides and supports and does all that. For them this can be a real challenge. So what skills do you think they need to continue to build, to allow them to have that win-win situation or get a win-win solution.

Donna: Well, one of the methods that we do use is actually called Method Three within my program. And the first part of that when working with a conflict situation is to define the needs of both parties. So again, it comes back to these needs. And what you find, if you put others’ needs before your own, then you’re not living your life. And you become very resentful and you’re not content and you’re not really happy so that’s the cracks of this. So the first step of Method Three is to define needs. Definitely comes back to needs: what are my needs?

Annemarie: Yeah. Yeah.

Donna: That’s the bottom line: what are my needs? With the boundaries, it’s also understanding as you alerted to, why am I saying yes to her? Do I want her to like me? You know, will it make it, sort of, she’ll owe me the next time? Sometimes too, Annemarie, it’s because we’re caught on the hop. You know, those situations where you know, it’s put in a certain way and I haven’t had time to think about it. Again, it’s languaging, just to say, “Oh look, I’ll check my diary and get back to you.” Rather than just saying, “Yes,” to a haze at that point in time. So Method Three, the first step is very much to define needs of the conflict.

Annemarie: So you would identify what your needs were and then you identify, what the other person’s needs ar. It’s trying to find a solution that delivers as much as possible for both parties. Both parties are having their needs met.

Donna: Absolutely, so it doesn’t become a win-lose situation. The word compromise comes into it. And sometimes when people hear compromise they think, “Oh, I’m going to have to give up something.” or “I’m gonna lose something” But it’s actually very different to that. When you work through the six steps of Method Three. Because you discuss it, or maybe you’re sort of going, “Oh I can give up a little bit here” and the other goes, “Oh well I can give up a little bit of that.” So that you both come to, or the group collectively, come to that solution. So the second part is actually to brainstorm the solutions.

Annemarie: Okay

Donna: You know, just absolutely brainstorm the solutions of the situation. And then evaluate them is the third part. And then eventually, you choose a solution. Between the two of you, between the group, you actually choose a solution and you begin to implement it. But the last part is, at a later date, whatever that is, collectively, is to check the result. Because that solution, it may be great and it might work perfectly, or again, there still might be some unmet needs. You know, that haven’t been quite fulfilled. But if you can start at the beginning, and it’s really important to spend time on the first steps so that everyone’s needs are out there.

Annemarie: Yeah

Donna: No one’s pretending. Nobody’s – and you know, part of the process, and part of learning these skills is being your real authentic self. It’s being the real deal. You know? It’s not saying –

Annemarie: Absolutely, you know, I do work with people using DISC. I don’t know if you’ve heard of that, but the S in DISC stands for steadfastness. People who are a High Factor S very much like to work in an environment with a steady pace. Once thing they don’t like is conflict.  In fact, they would rather agree to disagree than to say, “No, well I don’t like that.” But if you continue to do that you’re not getting needs met. You’re not really being fair to the other person or the other people if you don’t tell them about it. You really do need to stand up and say, “You know what, this is really where I’m coming from, this is what I really need. And these are my boundaries.” It’s only fair to all parties.

Donna: Absolutely. And you’ll find – and I’m sure you’ve been in situations where somebody’s saying yes to something, or – and you know it’s not what they really want. It’s not the answer they’re really wanting to give.

Annemarie: Yeah

Donna: People can smell it when someone’s not staying authentic. You know? To your point, it’s not a benefit to anybody.

Annemarie: And it leads you right back to the very beginning again. You haven’t put the boundaries in place.

I love those steps so: define the needs of each of the parties, brainstorm the solution, evaluate, choose a solution, implement, and check the result later down the track to make sure that you are getting the win-win outcome. And I so agree with what you said, you know. When you’re looking at any relationship, win or a lose, really, down the track, both parties lose.

Donna: Exact – spot on.

Annemarie: You might think at the time, “Oh, I won this one. Fantastic” But I tell you what, if you’re working with a partner in business, it’s a lose-lose because down the track, something is going to happen that it’s going to bite you back. You know that old saying, it’s going to come back and bite you.

Donna: Absolutely

Annemarie: So I love those steps. So for someone who can see they need extra support in this area, how can they get in contact with you?

Donna: My website is If you just want to get a bit more of a feeling for me, I do write a blog which you can click on through my website. And… yeah, that’s me.

Annemarie: Fabulous, that’s great. Thank you so much again Donna for coming on the show

Donna: Thanks Annemarie. It’s been a pleasure.

Annemarie: You’ve been listening to the Ambitious Entrepreneur. If you’re struggling to get more clients and charge what you’re worth, get our free 7 step audio theories on how to get noticed, hired, and paid what you’re worth at

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