The 3 C’s of Positive Human
Managing Communication,
Conflict & Change
This Module was a
originated by:
Molly B Ames
Cornell Cooperative
Extension Farm
Business Management
315-788-8450 Ext. 241
Ruth Maltz
NY FarmNet Personal
Trish Westenbrook
The 3 C’s of Positive Human
Learning Objectives:
•Explore decision making and the role of communication and
conflict in a family owned business
•Discuss family business tensions and conflict resolution methods
•Understand individual response to change
Length of Time Needed:
•25 minutes with 5 minutes for activities are needed at a bare
minimum. It is recommended to use an abbreviated version if you
plan to later have more time to work on each of the sections about
communication, conflict and change.
•A long version with activities should be given 45 minutes with 15
minutes for activities.
AV Equipment:
•LCD Projector/Screen
•Flipchart and markers
Presenter: Into Slide
 Move quickly to introduce yourself and
describe how many families lack the
skills of communication which leads to
conflict particularly when change is in
the making
The 3 C’s of Positive Human
Managing Communication,
Conflict & Change
Molly B. Ames
Ruth A. Maltz
Northeast Center
for Risk Management Education
Presenter: DMAIC
 While we use 3'C's in the Improve
phase, obviously communication is
critical in all phases. Change is
required in this phase for obvious
reasons. It is hard to improve by
staying the same. Conflict often arises
as a result of change
*adapted from Six
Combine alternative generation,
decision making and tactical planning
You are Here
Presenter: Attributes of Farm
Family Business
Farming involves:
People we care about & our life’s
Involves how we live & how we work
Talk about the fact that in farm
businesses we tend to be with the
same people 24 hours a day 7 days a
week. Our roles may change, but it is
hard to move between those roles and
learn to communicate effectively.
Shared history cause us to know
more about each other than typical co
workers do
Attributes of Farm Family
Dynamic integration of the:
Living and working together
Presenter: Good Communicator
Ask the group to list what they thinks
makes someone a good communicator
(listed below are some common skills a
good communicator may have) and record
their responses on the flipchart.
active listener
 friendly
 open, honest,
 Makes I statements (I think we should talk about
 Stay on one topic
 don’t bring up ancient history- Reminding people
of past problems does not focus on the problem
at hand
 chose calm time and place to talk
QTIP- Quit Taking It Personally = a memory aid to
stay objective
You will follow up with this list on the next slide
Good Communication!
makes a
Presenter notes: Tools for
This is the list that the audience will have in their
notebooks the presenter slide is more abbreviated.
Go over these in a little more detail
Start with an open mind
Actively listen to viewpoints & feelings
Verify what you think you heard
Make “I statements” Starting with YOU (You always walk away when
there is a problem)-- Cuts communication because it sounds accusatory and puts
the other person on the defensive
Keep to one topic
Don’t talk when upset or rushed
Don’t raise your voice
Avoid ultimatums
Avoid pitfalls (sarcasm, criticism, blame, name calling, and over
Remain objective
QTIP (quit taking it personally)
Listen & Understand others concerns
Include all parties in the discussion
Seek or create common ground
Ask Questions- what is really going on?
Respect individual differences
Tools for Communication
 Be positive and respectful
 Active listening
 Be inclusive
 Seek common ground
Presenter notes: Conflict Issues in Farm
Family Business
Conflict can arise in Family farm businesses
particularly because we expect everyone to have the
same values, goals, and understand their roles when
quite frequently it is unspoken and no one knows
the “rules) Go over these items that cause conflict
and why:
• Values/Personalities - what is important? This
varies among family members and some habits
of others can be annoying/frustrating
• goals- long & short term – Ideas for the future
can be different
• Siblings and different generations in same
family have different personalities- shy,
assertive, aggressive, doormat, open, guarded,
friendly, hostile, bossy
• what is each job? Who is responsible for what?
• Organization about who reports to who- do all
family members rank above staff? What about
in- laws, step children, etc
• Struggle between farm and family for resources
-Does new tractor come before home repairs?
Conflict Issues in Farm Family
 Differences
 Who is in Charge?
Role clarity
 Unequal ownership
Purse strings/ management
 Family and business compete for
A new piece of equipment or a
home repair?
Presenter notes: Many Farms
are Family Businesses
Talk about how our reaction to conflict is
often influenced by our family & life
experiences. So family members may share
typical reactions to conflict. Read the slide
and then talk about some things that can
change such a reaction:
Avoid ultimatums- be assertive not
Anger, sarcasm, criticism & blame are
control mechanisms and they interrupt
communication & problem solving
Don’t bring up the past
Many Farms are Family
Conflict beliefs shaped by
If they shout and insist things be done “Their
 The result looks like this:
Presenter notes: Many farm
families are businesses
Ask “Have you ever walked into a room
and felt the chill between people who
are fighting?”
 Do you know people who, when
angry, go for days with out speaking?
“the silent treatment”
Anger eats away at the person who
holds on to it.
Try saying, “This really needs to be
done correctly, let’s review the steps.”
Not “that’s the 5th time you’ve done it
 Holding onto anger and resentment is
a bit like burning down the house to
get rid of the mice. It hurts us more
than the mice.
Many Farms are Family
Businesses continued..
Conflict beliefs shaped by
If they stop talking and withdraw in
angry silence
 The result looks like this:
Presenter notes: I to I
Fundamental Interpersonal Relations
The FIRO model is helpful in understanding what is
required for optimal success in a family business that
needs to move forward with implementation of change as
well as what might have gone wrong when team work
and decision making breaks down.
We have simplified this model to make it less “academic”
for public consumption, but to be informed it would be
best to become familiar (See the FIRO resource
We have retitled this to I to I (Inclusion to Integration).
Take some time explaining about each of these stages.
Simplify what is given on the next couple of presenter
The presenter notes are continued on the next presenter
I to I:
Phases in building interpersonal
Who is in and
who is out
and power
Make a
from the
sum of the
Adapted from the Fundamental Interpersonal Relationship
Presenter Notes: I to I
Inclusion is about who is in and who is out of the decision
making circle. Inclusion deals with structure, connectedness
and shared meaning. There is an emotional interdependence
that evolves when two or more decision makers share in the
same decision. If there are differing perceptions of inclusion
and therefore differing perceptions of role, there will likely be
conflict. Feelings of unfairness come when individuals feel
excluded from the circle. This may be unintentional and can be
corrected or clarified by taking the time to gather everyone at
the table for some open communication. It is important to be
clear about who needs to be at the table. If an individuals’
input, labor, support, permission, or even just their cooperation
is needed, they need to be at the table. If they are not, it will
likely come back to haunt at some point.
Control – The interpersonal need to establish and maintain
satisfactory relations with people in respect to power and
control. This theory suggests there are different styles of
control. Some of us tend toward a more dominating than a
collaborative style of control. A collaborative style is generally
considered more constructive in times of change or decision
making. In a situation where there are competing needs,
conflict often arises over control.
Finally integration is about individual and collective creativity
used to solve problems and get things done. Integration is
when a whole is made from the sum of the parts. It is when
individuals all have a willingness to take a risk in an
environment of trust, creativity, and openness.
Presenter materials continued on the next presenter slide:
Presenter notes: I to I
Regardless of the decision, certain fundamental realities dictate
how individuals react to the decision making process. Every
single one of us has experienced the knot in our stomach when
we are presented with an ultimatum, or a “done-deal.” “We
decided this is what you need to do.” This kind of decision
making does not usually sit well. A decision that “we” never had
the chance to have input on is not really “our” decision. It does
not feel right. Even if it is the only logical decision given the
circumstances, it does not feel good when those impacted have
not had the chance to be included in the process.
When families get into a situation where they need to make a
decision to change, conflict can arise that has nothing to do with
the decision at hand but is more about the process and the
dynamics driving it. If the family did not define who is in and who
is out in such a way that the decision makers at the table now
were included from the beginning, then conflict arises. If the
control mechanisms, how influence and power is exerted, tend
towards dominating and reactive versus collaborative, then
conflict arises.
This conflict must be worked through before integration can
occur and a decision can be made
Presenter notes: Conflict
 People pulling in opposite directions
doesn’t have to equal hostility &/or
 Conflict is inevitable
 Conflict can be negative or positive
depending on how feelings are
We tend to think that conflict is
 Things that increase negative conflict:
name calling, over generalizing,
thinking we are mind readers, bringing
up ancient history
People pulling in opposite directions
doesn’t have to equal hostility &/or
Presenter notes: Benefits of
 Ask “What’s good about conflict?”
Give audience a chance to think and
respond then go over what is
beneficial as listed on the slide
 Working through a conflict can give
us a better perspective and open us
up to new ideas
Benefits of Conflict
 Signal change is needed
 See problem in a new light
 Understand another person better
 Find new and better ways to do
 Improve a situation
 People learn & grow through
 Provide energy for change
Presenter notes: Downside of
“Just as there are 2 sides to every story, lets
look at the negative side of conflict.”
When conflict is elevated it can leave us
 Unrelenting stress and a feeling of lack
of control over your job results in illness
 Negative impact on morale (why bother
nothing will change)
 The stress/aggression takes us off track
and we end up not aiming for that
compelling vision
This continues on the next slide
Downside of Conflict
 Prolonged conflict injures physical
& mental health
 Diverts time, money & energy from
important goals
 Can put individual interest over the
Presenter notes: Downside of
Conflict continued
Family Members know each other’s Hot Buttons
& How to Push Them then it just escalates. It can
lead us to distort the truth to get people on our
side. It keeps us from doing what we should.
Then more distance is created and the old stuff
starts resurfacing.
Intense conflict can result in lies &
Recurrent conflict decreases
Creates distance between people
Brings up old history
Downside of Conflict
 Intense conflict can result in lies &
 Recurrent conflict decreases
 Creates distance between people
 Brings up old history
Presenter notes – Family
Business Case discussion
Patricia Frishkoff talked about Family or business
This activity gets people involved in a case family
situation and think about how conflict should be handled.
Family Focus
Business Focus
Peace at any cost
Impact on Business
Family first
Employee expectations
Read the case to them or give them time to read it and ask
them what the problem(s) are and how this should be dealt
with. Point out how a small conflict can affect a business
and keep growing.
This should take 2 or 3 minutes
Family Dairy Business Case
 Mom, Son and 2 daughters run the family
Recently brother-in-law (BIL) started working as
BIL is increasingly difficult to work with:
He acts like a “Know It All”
He gets combative, bossy or defensive when
He holds his position over the other employees.
“If he wasn’t part of the family he wouldn’t be working
in this capacity.” Resigning employee said.
“I don’t want to hurt my family but, BIL’s refusal to
listen has caused good employees to leave.” the
sister’s said
1. Identify the problem(s)
2. Steps to improve
Presenter: Types of
 Now we are going to spend some
time talking about how to be
assertive without so much
aggression to make conflict
 We will look at two forms of
negotiation, competitive and mutual
 Remember we have already talked
about differences in values and
personalities that motivate us.
Presenter notes continued on the next presenter
Conflict Resolution Basics
 If feelings are strong, schedule a time
to talk after a brief cooling off period.
 Both people need time to focus on the
situation without interruptions.
 Set ground rules - Take turns (one
talks- other listens) Stay on ONE
TOPIC, Be respectful of each other.
 4. Share information in the form of I
see, I feel, I think, I want, I need
 5. Negotiate creatively for a win-win
Presenter notes: Types of
Competitive negotiation example:
 Two partners deciding what to plant this year
 One may pull rank and say “ I’ve more
 One may dig up the past /we lost $ on your
last idea
How to negotiate the situation: “If you can’t
control the wind, Move the sails!”
1. Divide field in half each plant what they want
2. Agree to objective criteria – using a CCE
3. Agree to find out what the current market is
Presenter notes continued on the next slide
Types of Negotiation
•Win – Lose
•Demand & Claim All
•Suspicious & Closed
•Tug of War
•Seek Win - Win
•Find Mutual
•Trusting & Open
Presenter notes: Types of
Negotiating Mutual Gains
•Helps parties realize that they have common interests.
•Look for Creative solutions- increased flexibility.
•Interests Define the problem Look for compatible
interests behind conflicting positions – ask Why?
Example- Farmer needs to buy tractor in spring for planting
NOW– funds are low
Neighbor’s price to sell tractor high – needs $ for son’s tuition
in Fall
Understanding needs of each- Down payment now and gain
use of tractor
Big payment after harvest in time for neighbor to pay tuition
•The most powerful interests are basic human needs
•When talking about interests: Be specific but flexible;
Acknowledge both sides interests
• Look forward, not back
•Segue into Change as a part of life
• Excerpted from GETTING TO YES
Presenter notes: Change is a part
of Life
We can approach change with a
negative attitude and it let it occur to
us. However, businesses can’t
survive without change and if you
view it negatively you will:
• View change as a loss
• Delay decisions to put off the
• Respond reactively to things as
they happen
• You will need luck just to
This topic continues with another slide.
Change is Part of Life
 Businesses can’t survive without
 View change as a loss
 Delay decisions
 Respond reactively
 You need luck to
For Sale by
Presenter notes: Change is a part
of Life continued.
You can choose to approach change with
a proactive attitude and see change as an
How can you be proactive? (discuss some
• Be open to new ways of doing things
• There can by multiple ways that
• Learn about technology & people.
• What does the market want?
• What is my competition?
• Have International Market Laws
Change is Part of Life
 View change as an opportunity
 Watch for new trends
 Respond proactively
 Business thrives
Presenter: Another look at
 Reactive or proactive responses to
change are really not two separate
responses to change but rather two ends
of a continuum. People can have an
overall orientation toward change that
means that a person most often responds
in a certain way. But it is also true that,
depending upon the intensity of meaning
a specific change has, a person could
react differently than usual. For example,
a person may usually respond to change
in a fairly positive and proactive way. But,
that same person could have a huge
sense of loss if they lost a job or business
that they felt frames who they are.
Another Look at Change
Presenter Note: Additional
thoughts for tying change and
segue to resilience
 Change is everywhere today. Major
change is occurring in almost every
aspect of people's personal and work
lives. That change is not just
technological either. Change has affected
how people interact with each other. It
has affected the policies and regulations
that guide their work. Many industries,
including agriculture, have experienced
structural changes that are now impacting
how business is done. There are many
value and ethical questions that these
changes are creating. In the midst of all
this change, many people are asking
themselves, "What are we to do?" They
often feel overwhelmed because they feel
that what they always depended upon to
be true, no longer is.
What is Resilience?
 The ability to bounce back and try
again when things don’t turn out as
we’ve planned
Presenter: Resilience
 Say that Maya Angelou said, “If you
don’t like something, change it. If
you can’t change it, Change your
attitude. Don’t complain.”
 Now lead into the topic of resilience
because “We increase our
ability to overcome adversity
by coping with life’s
Building Resilience
We increase our ability to
overcome adversity by
coping with life’s challenges
Presenter notes: Building
Talk about resilience by the following
points and then refer to the slide
and the things farmers do in their
Our ability to cope, is based on an
interaction of nature & nurture.
Our personality
Our attitude toward life (negative or
Our expectations of how things
should be impact our resilience
What we think “should be”and “what
they are” can be very different
Building Resilience continued
Farmer’s do superhuman things
 Work 24/7
 Meet tight deadlines
(planting, harvest, breeding)
 Cope with weather, diseases, & other
Presenter notes: Building
Resilience Continued
 Like a vaccine prevents us from
illness with a a micro dose of the
disease …
previous difficulties strengthen us
for the next situation
 We learn through our experiences
Building Resilience continued..
 Farmers’ experiences of coping
with many crises help them:
 develop a sense of personal
 have a positive outlook
 have a social network of
friends and family
Presenter notes: Ways to
Increase Resiliency
 We all need to make time to unwind
 Listen to music – try deep breathing
 Count to10 – imagine a soothing
 Yoga- stretching exercise (bad
 Meditation – prayer
 You’re not superman!
 Learn to say NO!
 Eat a healthy diet
Ways to Increase Resilience
1. Make time for yourself
2. Develop calming method
3. Recognize pros and cons of the job
4. Settle for less than perfect
5. Take care of yourself; set limits
6. Cultivate a support network
7. Explore options & be open to new
Presenter: Maintaining
 Positive people develop the ability
to view life as challenging, dynamic,
and filled with opportunities. They
appreciate the dangers and threats
in change, but are not overwhelmed
by them. They "compartmentalize"
the stress caused by disruptions to
prevent it from affecting other areas
of their lives.
 Focused people determine where
they are headed and stick to that
goal so that barriers along the way
do not become insurmountable.
Blocks or obstacles are given the
appropriate attention.
Maintaining Resilience
When Do You Need a Mediator?
• Large gap between positions
•Too many issues
• Power imbalance between parties.
• Trouble finding common interests.
• Need help to consider how the
other sees the problem
• Need help to find common ground.
• Need ideas not previously
Presenter notes: Putting 3Cs
to Use
Suggest that families try some of
these new skills in their businesses
and families. They can start with
family/business meetings.
Regular family and business
meetings improve morale and
Really get to know the people you
work with (take a personality test)
Roles should be discussed and the
best candidate assigned to each task.
There are no male or female jobs
just skills matched with tasks
Putting 3 Cs Skills to
To-do Back Hom
At Family/business Meetings
Create organization chart & job
Take a personality test (True
Colors, Personality IQ, etc)
Design a compelling vision
Use planning process to address
upcoming change proactively
Share information openly &
Fisher, R, Ury, W.,& Patton, B.( 1991) Getting to Yes:
Negotiating Agreement Without Giving in ( 2nd Ed.),
Penguin Books, and Deetz, S.A., & Stevenson, S.L. (1986)
Heitler,Ph. D., S.M (1990). From Conflict to Resolution,
W.W. Norton & Company
Covey, S. (1989) Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,
NY: Simon & Schuster
Danes, Sharon M. (1999) Change: Loss, Opportunity and
Resilience, University of Minnesota, FO-07421
Billikoph, G., Conflict Management Skills, UC Berkeley, URL &
Hutt, G., Milligan, R., Kauffman., Claypoole,E,(1988) Managing
For Success Work Group, Farm Management Resource
Notebook, Pro Dairy & CCE
Managing Conflict, Purdue Univ., URL
 NY FarmNet –offers free,
confidential family & financial
consultation on the farm.
1 (800) 547-FARM (3276)
http: ://

Communication, Conflict and Change - PRO