What’s with the Play-Doh?
Play-Doh is a modeling compound typically used for arts and crafts projects by children. It’s pliable and flexible. It can be shaped in different ways depending on the external pressure applied to it.
Most people we encounter at work and other areas of our life are like Play-doh – pliable and flexible when external pressure is applied. For pressures like conflict with co-workers, managers, customers and even our family, friends and neighbors, most of us will stretch without breaking and be shaped in many directions based in the circumstance. Some people we encounter don’t have the same ability to stretch and have the same flexibility.
They’re like Play-Doh that’s been left out for a while – still soft on the inside but inflexible and unable to change shape on the outside. When conflict happens, these people don’t stretch and ultimately cause a disruption to people around them, and at times, they even create the conflict. We can’t tell just by looking at Play-Doh if it’s going to stretch or not.
Similarly, we can’t tell just by looking at a person whether they will be able to stretch during times of stress, change and conflict. We have to observe their behaviors over time and look for patterns of behavior that tell us if they are High Conflict Disruptors or not. All of us can be inflexible at times, but those who exhibit inflexibility are those who often cause us to get ‘stuck’ in our interactions with them.
Even worse, sometime these High Conflict Disruptors are more than inflexible; they are explosive. They are like a C4 explosive, a ticking time bomb waiting to happen. They often erupt in a stealth mode behind your back, causing untold damage to you or your company. Without a clear understanding of who they are and how they could react, you may not be able to defuse them and avoid potentially catastrophic damage.
When we find ourselves at a loss, stuck, or walking on eggshells, we need to adapt our method of dealing with them and do the opposite of what we do with a regular ball of Play-Doh! _________________________________________________________________________________
Megan Hunter is the CEO of Unhooked Media a global site providing video, books and audio Megan Hunterproviding solutions to complicated relationships with disruptive and difficult people. Her goal is to improve family life, divorce, co-parenting, teamwork and productivity with valuable information about complicated relationships.