Sunday, November 15, 2009

In the Land Of Difficult People

Lots of content resting in rich archives. Below is a video of the webinar, tool, and TV appearances for an AMACOM book.

I had a grand time collecting stories from around the world for a book on difficult people. In the Land of Difficult People: 24 Timeless Tales Reveal How to tame Beasts at work was loads of fun.

I offered a webinar earlier on the year on topic. Here are the questions we looked at:

Are people’s job performances in your organization plagued by difficult behaviors?

Do projects suffer when people are unable to work effectively with each other?

Are you leveraging people’s differences and the tensions created by these to achieve results?

There are no difficult people, well at least not many, but there are lots of difficult behaviors and each and every one of us is guilty of engaging in them.

Based on the book, In the Land of Difficult People: 24 Timeless Tales Reveal How to Tame Beasts at work, this webinar uses a fun and interactive strategy to tackle destructive behaviors that are getting in the way of your organization achieving its results.

Difficult People from Terrence Gargiulo on Vimeo.

Here's a summary of the key points and a follow-up job aid I sent participants...


• There are very few truly difficult people. Just lots of difficult behaviors.

• We are all guilty of behaviors that cause difficulty for others and we are usually not aware of it.

• People drive organizational performance.

• Future competitive advantage will be directly correlated with the quality, effectiveness and depth of relationships in organizations.

• Meaningful conversations nurture relationships.

• Stories are a natural and essential part of meaningful conversations.

• “The shortest distance between people is a story.” – Terrence Gargiulo

• Seek to understand others first.



What’s In It for Them


What do I care about?
What’s important to me?
Do I have any communication allies?


Whenever you can, planning for a communication with someone who is exhibiting difficult behavior that is impacting your performance or just causing you consternation can lead to better results.

Try imaging the world from their vantage point. Start by considering any situational constraints. These are any things that might interfere or effect the way you can interact with this person.

We tend to simplify people’s behavior into simplistic causal explanations. These are often wrong or just a fraction of the picture.

Reflect on they why’s of their behavior by asking what’s important to them. Do so with an open mind.

Examine your assumptions. What filters, values, beliefs, information, ideas, opinions, etc… are coloring your view?

Be sure to consider what’s important to you. What do you need and what do you care about? Consider anyone you might enlist as a communication ally. These are people who might support, clarify or advocate.

Five to ten minutes of quality reflecting can lead to a world of difference.

Here are some video clip of TV interviews I did for the book...


I'd love to hear some of your real-life stories of difficult people.

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