Conflict Without Casualties

What Does The Dalai Lama Know About Compassionate Leadership?

Daniel Goleman has spent the last 30 years researching and developing the science of Emotional Intelligence, and is a friend of the Dalai Lama. Recently he was asked to write a book about the Dalai Lama’s compassionate approach to addressing the world’s most intractable problems. Just published in June 2020, Force for Good, is both an exploration of the science and the power of compassion and a call to action. (more…)

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Why Drama Is Your Greatest Threat During Crisis And How To Respond With Compassion

With the Coronavirus outbreak, the world is on high alert. People are anxious and afraid. It’s difficult to separate fact from fear and plain talk from politics. Drama is at an all-time high.

The real impact of this crisis on you your business depends on many factors that we can’t control. But the big question is whether our response will make us part of the problem or part of the solution.

Your response to crisis either makes you part of the problem, or part of the solution.

Here are three drama-based responses to uncertainty and crisis that only make things worse, and compassionate alternatives that help you be part of the solution.

Giving In

Do you shut down, believing you are helpless and avoid reality because you don’t want to face your feelings of anxiety or fear? This type of drama only magnifies irrational paranoia.

Compassionate Alternative

  • Get vulnerable with your own feelings. Let others know you are human too.
  • Empathize with others. People want to know they aren’t alone.
  • Validate other people’s feelings. People want to know it’s safe to talk about it.

Giving Unsolicited Advice

Do you swoop in trying to help everyone and masquerade as the expert? Do you feel more in control when you have advice and answers? This type of drama only creates resentment because it invites others to feel even less in control of their own destiny.

Compassionate Alternative

  • Get curious and ask permission before you offer help or information. People want to be included.
  • Ask people for ideas on creative solutions. People want to feel involved.
  • Leverage current opportunities and assets to adapt with purpose. People want to feel empowered.

Giving Ultimatums

Do broad generalizations, threats, and black or white statements help you feel powerful? When you blame and attack everyone else, do you feel more confident? Sadly, this type of drama only pushes people away, the very people whom you need most to find a way through the crisis.

Compassionate Alternative

  • Clarity the most important priorities, such as relationships, commitments, and safety. People want to know what to expect.
  • Focus on what you can control, especially your integrity and trustworthiness. People want to know they can count on you.
  • Apologize and make it right when you make a mistake or realize you need to adjust course. People want to know you will take responsibility.

By using compassion, humanity can overcome the negative pull of drama and rise to our best selves, especially in times of uncertainty and crisis.

Want help applying our compassion template to your crisis communication strategy? Call us for a free 30 minute consultation. +1 316 283 4200, email 

Next Element offers Virtual Training for Leading Out of Drama and implementing The Compassion Mindset. In just a couple of hours and without leaving their offices, your leaders can get training on new communication, compassion and constructive conflict tools.

Copyright Next Element Consulting, LLC 2020
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Conflict Is Not Approved For That Application

Arthur Brooks, economist and author of Love Your Enemies estimates that seven percent of the population profits from contempt. Contempt is how we feel when we view others as invaluable, incapable, and irresponsible. This is exactly the opposite of compassion.


Contempt-mongers make their living by using conflict as a weapon. They have honed the art of stoking division, emphasizing differences, inviting fear, and normalizing the degradation of anyone who gets in their way.

Conflict was never approved for use as a weapon.

Conflict is a natural consequence of diversity. Diversity is a natural and wonderful part of this world we live in. The purpose of conflict is to create, not destroy.

Conflict has been approved as a viable energy source for creating something amazing.

Compassion is the mechanism for harnessing the positive potential in conflict.

So what’s up with the seven percent? 

  • Ignorance; we don’t know and don’t want to know about those other people
  • Greed; compassion threatens our personal stockpile of stuff
  • Fear; I don’t know what would happen, but it’s probably bad
  • Upbringing; it’s how I was raised
  • Us vs. Them; we are right, they are different, they need to be eliminated
  • It pays off; contempt-mongering gets me what I want

The good news!

93% of the world prefers compassion.

Who is your role model in the 93%? Will you give them a shout out on this post?

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Mis-Communicable Diseases

Mis-communicable diseases are illnesses passed from person to person through miscommunication. That’s because miscommunication infects people with negativity; inferiority, guilt, shame, and fear. Forget the basic cases of not understanding each other. I’m talking about getting hooked, and the next thing you know, you’re under the weather. (more…)

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Why Is This Happening To Me?

Things were going so good leading up to Christmas. Then, during the week between Christmas and New Years I got several pieces of bad news, and had one heck of a time transferring data between an old and new computer. Wasted most of a day! By the way, the Apple Migration Assistant didn’t make my life any easier this time! Together, these events really killed the buzz I had going. I found myself plummet from being on top of the world to complaining “Why is this happening to me!?” in a matter of hours.

This post is the third in my series, New Year, New Default Settings, where I examine the defaults in our life that keep us from experiencing greater joy, purpose, and productivity. The third default I have re-set this year is, (more…)

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Don’t Buy My Book For Christmas: Six Reasons Why

The book is called Conflict Without Casualties: A Field Guide for Leading With Compassionate Accountability.

Don’t buy it today

Here are six reasons why buying my book for Christmas is a bad idea.

1. There’s nowhere to hide.

People who have read my book and gone through our Compassionate Accountability training say,

“There’s nowhere to hide. Your model quickly exposes all the ways I waste the energy of conflict struggling against myself and others.”

So don’t buy my book and avoid exposing your own drama. Of course, everyone else already knows it, but the longer you avoid knowing it, the happier you will be.

2. Compassionate Accountability is exhausting!

Drama is much easier and doesn’t require extra effort or discipline. You already know how to do it. The holidays are all about taking it easy, so don’t buy my book.

3. I’d have to challenge my belief system.

Compassion requires we accept that people are worthwhile, capable, and accountable. If this contradicts your world view, then don’t buy my book.

4. Nate might ask me about it.

If I find out you bought my book I might ask you if you liked it. What if you didn’t read it, didn’t like it, or didn’t understand what I wrote? Awkward! Better off not buying the book.

5. I love feeling justified.

Drama is fueled by justification. Compassion thrives on safety, curiosity and consistency. If you don’t want to give up your drug, don’t buy the book!

6. I’d have to be responsible.

Seriously! Learning more effective ways to communicate with people means you can no longer pretend you don’t know any better. People might expect you to do something different. For heaven’s sake, don’t buy the book for yourself, get it for everyone else!

Don’t buy my book today.

Sarcasm and reverse psychology were extensively applied in the creation of this post. Yeah, I just did that.
Copyright Next Element Consulting, LLC 2018
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Conflict Without Casualties Blog Launches on PsychCentral

I’m delighted to announce the launch of my new blog, Conflict Without Casualties, on PsychCentral, one of the world’s most visited sites for mental health and wellness resources.

The Conflict Without Casualties Blog will focus on helping people:

  • Unlock the positive potential in conflict.
  • Transform their relationship with conflict through the practice of Compassionate Accountability.
  • Achieve greater effectiveness, happiness, and satisfaction.

I post once a week on Tuesdays. Check it out, tell a friend, and if you have topic ideas for me to write about, I’d love your input.

One more step to help build cultures of Compassionate Accountability one person at a time. Will you join us?

Buy the book and get a free Drama Resilience Assessment.

Attend training

Get certified in our Adaptive Communication and Positive Conflict Models


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What Could You Gain If You Gave Up Being Justified?

The need to feel justified is one of the strongest, most intoxicating and uniquely human conditions. It’s amazing how far we will go to get that fix, how hard we will work to prove we were right about something or someone. How hard do you defend your version of what happened in a “he said, she said” argument? When you send an email and the other person doesn’t remember getting it, how much energy do you spend trying to prove that you sent it and that they are in the wrong? (more…)

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The Discipline Of Optimism

Optimism is not just seeing the glass as half full. It’s about doing what it takes to fill it up.

Optimism is not wishful thinking. Not even a hopeful attitude. Optimism is the discipline of envisioning and pursuing possibility, against the odds. Optimistic people are this way because they work at it. They don’t just see the glass as half full, they push through to keep filling it so that potential turns into reality. Optimism takes perseverance, grit, and belief in the power of a vision and of the people pursuing that vision. Optimism doesn’t give up when the going gets tough. Optimism never quits looking for opportunity, potential, the possibility everyone else missed, the faint light at the end of the tunnel.

Jon Gordon, an ambassador of positivity, wrote this about optimism. (more…)

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