Free ‘Mind Map’ Download from Cheetah Learning Helps Reduce Workplace Conflict

Share Article

History offers many lessons to teach the wise about how to deal with conflict. The free “Mind Map” now offered by the Project Management Professionals (PMPs) at Cheetah Learning ( is a handy tool to help visualize conflict and deal with it appropriately.

The ancient Chinese military strategist Zhuge Liang, who earned the nickname "Crouching Dragon," once observed that, "Those who are skilled in combat do not become angered, those who are skilled at winning do not become afraid. Thus the wise win before the fight, while the ignorant fight to win."

Liang’s comments are worth pondering entering 2012, a year when Americans commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, a 13-day standoff between Nikita Khrushchev and John F. Kennedy that nudged the world to the brink of nuclear destruction.

There may be no better example in recent history where the art of communication trumped the dead reckoning of war.

While few will find themselves in such an intense, high-stakes situation, that near-catastrophe provides an instructive lesson in conflict, a subject the Project Management Professionals (PMPs) at Cheetah Learning ( focused on as their theme for December.

“As every project manager knows, communication is 99.995 percent of the job,” said Cheetah Learning founder and CEO Michelle LaBrosse. “Good conversational skills can also build better relationships – in both the personal and the professional parts of life.”

For example, the learning objectives in Cheetah’s “Communicating Through Conflict” course sync up well with pivotal points in the American-Soviet face-off. Course objectives include:

“Clarify expectations for present and future interactions.”

“Practice constructive communication habits with people you find difficult.”

“Turn destructive experiences into growth experiences.”

“Share information in a mutually respectful manner.”

“Renegotiate expectations to keep the group moving forward.”

Communication techniques that helped defuse the situation between Cold War warriors can be used to resolve virtually any conflict.

Early in December, as part of a Daily PM Skill Builder, LaBrosse referred to “Conversational Aikido” as a way to help Reduce Workplace Conflict. (The column is at – it links to the article “Conversational Aikido” and a free downloadable “Mind Map,” a handy tool for visualizing conflict and dealing with it appropriately.)

Aikido, a Japanese martial art, leverages the motion of an attacker and redirects the force of the attack rather than opposing it head-on. “Conversational Aikido” converts this martial arts method into a communication concept, which LaBrosse defines as “compassionate engagement.”

Two of its prime directives:

State observable facts – “This releases you from having to make judgments about people’s behaviors,” she explains.

Ask permission-based questions – “Which stimulates buy-in to a dialog,” she adds.

LaBrosse didn’t learn these techniques in a vacuum. She is familiar dealing with challenges: As a single mother of two, she started Cheetah Learning from scratch and grew it into a multi-million dollar powerhouse in the Project Management education field, a competitive arena featuring 1,600 providers registered with the Project Management Institute (PMI).

Her success has not gone unnoticed: PMI selected LaBrosse as one of the 25 Most Influential Women in Project Management in the World; in October 2008 Cheetah Learning was honored as PMI’s Professional Development Provider of the Year. The company offers a wide array of material, including:

Cheetah Negotiations, How to Get What You Want, Fast,” published by MAKLAF Press, ISBN-10: 0-9761749-2-8, available at

“Know How Network” at – a compilation of “Know How Network” columns.

Free Tips, Tools and Deals, accessible by filling out the form at

For more information about Cheetah Learning, call (888) 659-2013. Outside the U.S., call (602) 220-1263.

ABOUT: Cheetah Learning is a Project Management Institute Registered Education Provider and is International Association of Continuing Education and Training Certified. Cheetah was awarded the Project Management Institute Professional Development Provider of the Year for 2008 for the significant contribution it made to the field of project management with its accelerated approach to teaching and doing project management.


Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Rita Soto
Visit website