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Ombuds 20:6 / Difference Analysis

With spring in full gear and summer around the corner, a typical North Carolina plan takes shape – when are we headed to the beach or mountains? However, in this challenging covid-19 time, we may not be able to make the journey in-person. We can at least imagine that walk on the beach and that’s how we started Ombuds 20 this week – Alexis Steptoe from NC State Wellness and Recreation led us on a guided imagery beach walk. We could actually feel the sand between our toes!  Thanks Alexis!

We then shifted gears to ombuds services designed to help navigate your workplace experience, support empowerment, connection to resources and coaching. This is the work of the organizational ombuds that is independent, confidential, informal and impartial.

We then revisited the Difference Analysis Worksheet (introduced last week) using a career advancement issue as the situation. Here is the worksheet filled in to give you a sense of how it could work. Additionally, one way to think about action steps is the idea of “building a golden bridge.”

The idea of building a golden bridge originally comes from Sun Tzu, The Art of War, who wrote about military strategy in China several thousand years ago. Then, Tzu’s focus was on building the bridge for your opponent to retreat. In more recent times William Ury, author of Getting to Yes and Getting Past No, shifted the framework to a positive – build a golden bridge for you both to cross. In my work as ombuds I reframe it further.

The idea is that when seeking to influence a situation, one must often do the work to not only set the stage, but to invite and encourage the actions that you are seeking. Thus, you build a very shiny golden bridge. Here’s how it works. You are on one side of the river and someone you want or hope to influence is on the other. How do you get them to your side of the river? You build a golden bridge across the river that is in their view. They see it and exclaim – “what a beautiful bridge!”  They walk over to it and examine it! And, they decide to walk across it to the other side. They get to the other side and might even stop, look back, and think – what a beautiful bridge “I’ve” built! Of course, you built it, yet I encourage you to not let that matter – they are now on your side of the river, right where you want them to be!

Good luck with your next building project and contact the ombuds if you’d like some help.

Go Ombuds !