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12 May

Personal Communication Compass:Transform or Conform: Surviving Toxic Co-Worker Syndrome

Personal Communication Compass--Transform or conform--interpersonal communication

To Transform or To Conform: That is the question

“If you communicate tomorrow the same way as you communicated yesterday,

you will have the same results tomorrow as you had yesterday. 

Want different results? Change the way you communicate.”–Dan O’Connor

There is no neutrality in the universe–the law of transform vs conform

It is a universal law that an object, when placed in any environment, will start to take on characteristics of that environment and become more like it, or the

environment will start to take on characteristics of the object and become more like it. There is no neutrality in the universe; we are either conforming to our

environment, or we are transforming our environment. That is the law. So which is it for you? It must be one or the other. Of course, if you work in a

positive, uplifting environment, lucky you—one less issue with which you have to deal. Go ahead and let the sea of positive energy wash over you every day. But

if you work in an environment replete with negaholics, backstabbers, gossips, office bullies, beggars, time suckers, victims, passive-aggressive communicators,

and other office energy vampires, remember the law is the law and it applies to you just as it does to the rest of the universe.

Which are you–a transformer or a conformist?

You too are either taking in that toxic energy,  allowing it to invade your mind like an insidious parasite, and then bringing it out the door with you every day

to infect your family and loved ones; or you are transforming your environment. Those are the only two options. Neutrality is not an option. So which is it?

Are you conforming to your environment, or are you transforming your environment? If you have decided that you are not an instrument of conformation, but will

instead be the change you seek, what is it then that you’re doing? Do you have a plan? As an administrator, you surely know the value of having a plan, a

system, or at least a checklist to go through so you can go about your environmental transformation in the most efficient way possible, right? Well,

having helped organizations combat and defeat toxic attitudes and environments for more than 20 years, I can tell you that if you do nothing more

than this one thing, you will have set the wheels of change in motion and declared to your office, the universe, and yourself that you are not here to conform.  This

goes beyond interpersonal skills to spiritual development–and it is required of all of us who want to grow, be empowered, and make a difference.

Develop a Personal Communication Compass

The first thing you must do is develop and use a Personal Communication Compass.

A Personal Communication Compass reminds you of three things at the precise moment you need to be reminded. It reminds you of:

1.Who you are,

2.Why you’re here, and

3.What you want.

Emotionally charged people are essentially “drugged”

Remember that when faced with negative or emotionally-charged people, your brain becomes unbalanced, and your thinking therefore becomes clouded just

as if you were on drugs. This causes you to believe crazy things about who you are, what your purpose is, and therefore how to proceed. You then act as that

crazy person—frequently regretting it later. It is in the sliver in time between event and response that most people unconsciously decide who they are,

why they’re here, and what they want–and subsequently proceed to react to their environment in a way that only perpetuates the undesirable behavior or

situation, because the game-plan used to deal with the problem was inherently flawed. Why? Because it was formulated in an emotion-driven, drug-induced state.

When we make decisions about how we will respond to negative behavior in the moment that behavior is presented, we are bound to fail. We then invariably

repeat the cycle starting from square one—because we are making decisions based on our environment, and what’s happening in it, rather than on who we

are and what our purpose is within that environment. As an example—think of a child who is misbehaving. You walk in, and he is hitting his brother. When you

ask, “Why did you just hit your little brother?” he responds by saying, “Well, because he hit me first!” This is natural, instinctive, reactive, (and childish)

behavior. The wonderful news is that this behavior can be replaced with learned behavior—and must be replaced if you choose to be an effective communicator

creating a constructive and peaceful environment for yourself and those around you.

A Personal Communication Compass helps break the cycle

Even as mature adults, too many people say and do things “because of” outside stimuli rather than because of “who they are.” Most people have just not yet

found the right tools to help them break this cycle, and be effective in nearly every communication situation. Enter the Personal Communication Compass.

When you have created a Personal Communication Compass, it is precisely during that sliver in time between event and response when–instead of reacting

to situations–something magical happens. A little voice inside you (or maybe even a big poster hanging in front of you) appears and says, “Hey, wait a

minute. Remember when you were sane and sober? You said that you were ___, you were here to ___, and you wanted ___. Well, what you’re thinking of

saying doesn’t jive with that at all. Perhaps you might want to say something more in line with who you are, such as. . . .” and voila! You have broken the

cycle and entered into an entirely new transformational process. Now your words are reflecting not your environment, but who you are. See the difference?

You will never reflect who you are by your actions until you reflect on who you are—write it down—and review it daily—like a mantra, a prayer, a promise.

If you did nothing more than create a personal compass and incorporate it into your life, you would see an immediate change in the results you get when

communicating at work, at home, and in every other environment you enter. But if you can also encourage your entire team at work to make one—maybe during

a lunch-and-learn (again, instructions in the link) not only would you see an instant improvement in communication, customer service, and employee

satisfaction, but you would be taking an active roll in being the catalyst of change that will eventually transform not just your office, but your entire world as

well. It all starts with the first step where you declare unabashedly to your office, the universe, and yourself, “I am not here to conform!”


To join Dan’s training group: click here!
Do you want to learn more about communication training that can help you become a more powerful, assertive, direct communicator? Communication that can change your life? Go to, along with his 50-lesson comprehensive communication training course.

Does your office need a communication trainer–a world-renowned expert trainer in customer service– who can help you create a healthy, safe office environment? Would you like training in handling negativity; teams and leadership; and creating a respectful, professional work-place? Then go to and request a quote from Dan and his team.

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