The fire is now out; safeguards are in place.  Although, I still feel a little weary and anxious because the real cause hasn’t been identified yet.  I’d like a complete resolution.

While my life work is with leaders, teams and conflict, this was an actual electrical fire in my basement.  This real fire mimics behavior in destructive conflict.

In the actual basement fire:
The firemen put out the fire.  I learned: 1. My smoke detectors were not working 2. The hot water heater or the oven was the trigger as both those circuits were blown.

Since I was running hot water when this happened and the hot water heater is new, it was most suspect (that and hopefully a warranty would cover the cost).  The service man came Easter morning to check it out.  It wasn’t the hot water heater.

An electrician is scheduled for tomorrow.  I installed new smoke detectors today.   I wait and feel uneasy.  How could an oven that was turned off cause a fire?

In destructive conflict:
Isn’t this how destructive conflict often goes?  There is a flare up, frequently without warning.  Someone exits or intervenes to subdue the fire. All parties, a little shaken, withdraw to evaluate their viewpoint of what happened.  Often learning later what we most suspected isn’t necessarily true.

Weariness and anxiety rule until the causes are addressed and resolution happens, without resolution separation increases.

Six tips from real fires to apply to conflict:

  1. Get your detector system in place!  In the Spiral Impact Methodology that is about becoming centered, and noticing when things don’t feel quite right with people.
  2. Explore your part of the issue.  Have you been accountable in the relationship?
  3. When issues get this explosive it is often necessary to get some external support and help.  Who is your support?  This can be a counselor, an employee assistance person, coach or consultant (I can help here too!).
  4. What is your intention in the situation?  What is it you want?
  5. Follow-up on your gut feelings.
  6. Check-in with your people/team when everything appears to be fine with a open conversation or survey!  Prevent the fire.

    Call to action: If you’d like to learn partical skills on how to innovate with conflict before it builds fires consider joining me in June.  More info:

    Or, concerned about employee satisfaction?  Read case study here .

    Getting back to real fires, 20/20 just last week had a show about smoke detectors. Although, I didn’t check mine after watching.  I was lucky as I am sitting in home alive with just a trace of burn smell in the air.

    Call to action: Check your fire detectors and make sure you have the photoelectric type!  Also, if you have small children research shows the standard alarm will not wake them. I suggest you investigate voice recorded alarms.