The Panther and the German Shepherd, a fun parable. Seasons Greetings from Steve and Eulalie at Negocio

A good friend Audrey Lee sent me this fun parable.

One day an old German shepherd starts chasing rabbits and before long,discovers that he’s lost. Wandering about, he notices a panther heading rapidly in his direction with the intention of having lunch.

The old German Shepherd thinks, “Oh, oh! I’m in deep trouble now!”
Noticing some bones on the ground close by, he immediately settles down to chew on the bones with his back to the approaching cat.

Just as the panther is about to leap, the old German Shepherd exclaims loudly, “Boy, that was one delicious panther! I wonder, if there are any more around here?”

Hearing this, the young panther halts his attack in mid-strike, a look of terror comes over him and he slinks away into the trees. “Whew!,” says the panther, “That was close! That old German Shepherd nearly had me!”

Meanwhile, a squirrel who had been watching the whole scene from a nearby tree, figures he can put this knowledge to good use and trade it for protection from the panther. So, off he goes.
The squirrel soon catches up with the panther, spills the beans and strikes a deal for himself with the panther.

The young panther is furious at being made a fool of and says, “Here, squirrel, hop on my back and see what’s going to happen to that conniving canine!”

Now, the old German Shepherd sees the panther coming with the squirrel on his back and thinks, “What am I going to do now?,” but instead of running, the dog sits down with his back to his attackers, pretending he hasn’t seen them yet, and just when they get close enough to hear, the old German Shepherd says….

“Where’s that squirrel? I sent him off an hour ago to bring me another panther!”

Moral of this story….Don’t mess with the old dogs … Age and skill will always
overcome youth and treachery! B.S. and brilliance only comes with age and experience.









All the best for the holiday season from Steve and Eulalie.

“Competitive Arousal”. Conflict Counsel No 7.

Humans have an unconscious bias towards competition with each other.   This unconscious bias that has been demonstrated in many scientific studies is more pronounced when people are in conflict.

People begin to think that it is important to win, and that winning means that the other person must lose.  This sets up the “drive to the bottom”.

In one experiment neuroscientists, who had identified “pleasure circuits” in the brain, were able to see those circuits light up when one person got a better score on a test than the other person (even when it was explained that it was not a contest).

In many mediation conferences I see people working really hard to convince the other party that they are wrong and should give in.  I have never seen such an approach work.  And even if it did and one party raises a white flag and surrenders, the dynamic of a winner and a loser rarely offers sustainability or stability.

Winning creates pleasure, that is for sure,  and losing resentment.  Think about the pleasure resentment cycle.   What do you think it could lead to?

Of course there are situations where for you to get what you want,  the other person might actually lose or perceive they are losing.  Best practice in conflict management when this dynamic occurs is not to dress up the loss as a win, rather to demonstrate understanding of the losses sustained without taking responsibility.

House of Representative’s Inquiry into Workplace Bullying. Conflict Counsel No 6

Released on 26th November 2012 this report highlights not only the problem of workplace bullying but also the difficult path that employees must traverse to prevent and/or deal with workplace bullying behaviour.

The authors consulted with workers and employers about the problem and grappled with many of the issues that have long been identified as contributing to the growing epidemic of inappropriate workplace behaviour.  I have recently reported on the Victorian Governments policies in relation to workplace behaviour.

It is clear from all of the reports that I have read that the House of Representatives correctly identifies that;

Bullying is best dealt with my taking steps to prevent it long before it becomes a risk to health and safety.

 The report recommends preventative strategies and a systemic approach to managing workplace behaviour.

I would suggest that a good place to start is to identify positive workplace behaviour looks like for your organisation.  This can be done in consultation with all stakeholders.

Only after appropriate behaviour is identified can you then be clear about the definition of “bad” behaviour and how everyone in the organisation can contribute to preventing bullying behaviour.

See the report at