At Intelligent Risking, we offer a wide range of consulting services and strategies including:

Executive Coaching

Fortune Magazine reports that training alone improved leadership skills by 22%. However, when it is combined with Executive Coaching the improvement jumps to 77%. Ms. Stoker, using above The Line strategies, works with leaders at all levels within an organization to expand their potential, allowing them to find greater growth professionally and personally. This translates into a greater contribution to the organization and an accelerated career path.

We work with a number of clients that were trained as engineers, doctors, and accountants who have found themselves in management positions. Most of them got promoted without any management training. Technical skills in your given area of expertise are critical to success; however, being good at what you do does not necessarily translate into being a great team leader.

The ability to make these kinds of transitions are not necessarily easy; however, they are critically important; not only to you, but also to your team and the organization. Ms. Stoker’s experience running her own business for 20 years, combined with being an executive for Mattel, Disney, Coors, and Hallmark Cards, provides a strong and diverse background from which she is able to coach her clients to maximize their potential.

Barbara works with individuals to enhance their ability around thinking strategically from a more global perspective. She helps hone their skills around persuasion and influence to motivate others whether they are direct reports, your peers, or your boss.

She is a trusted thought partner, with a wealth of experience and a fresh ‘outside’ perspective. She builds confidence quickly providing her clients the freedom to explore their strengths and opportunities for growth. She supports and challenges them by brainstorming potential approaches and possible consequences from an aboveThe Line perspective.

Managing people is easy when everyone is in agreement. However, real skill is required to navigate through disagreements. Success often comes down to your ability to resolve old conflicts, minimize new ones and avoid future ones. That is why Ms. Stoker’s background in Conflict Mediation and Conflict Management is invaluable.

References are provided on request or visit our Client List. Please contact us directly to learn more.

Conflict Management

Unhealthy conflict results in a strain on relationships, resistance to change, and higher turnover - all expensive to an organization. When conflict falls below The Line, then avoiding, winning-at-all-costs, and retaliation are prevalent. This creates dysfunction, adds unnecessary drama, and comes with a high personal and professional cost. When conflict happens above The Line, individuals adapt, find inventive solutions, and reach out to resolve the issue. Collaborative solutions transform conflict into new possibilities.

Our firm provides a healthy above The Line process that allows a non-threatening approach that everyone within the organization can easily implement to minimize conflict.

Conflict Management involves training supported with one-on-one and team coaching. It provides a common foundation and language for dealing with differences using a 7 Step Conflict Resolution Process. This tool provides the understanding around how conflict tends to build, skills to de-escalate the conflict, and awareness around individual conflict style that include:

  • Competing: high levels of interest in satisfying one’s own interests and low concern about the other person’s needs.
  • Avoiding: low level of interest in meeting the needs of either person.
  • Yielding: low levels of interest in satisfying one’s own interests and high concern about the other person’s needs.
  • Compromising: mid-level interest in meeting the needs of both parties.
  • Collaborating: high level of interest in meeting both parties’ needs.

Below The Line conflict has a negative impact on client interactions, employee engagement, and profitability.  Above The Line conflict management provides a clear process that allows for differing points of view that lead to innovative solutions. In short, ineffective and harmful responses to conflict can be avoided while productive and beneficial responses can be learned.

Leadership around conflict management is required beyond the executive team; it is required at every level within the organization. An individual’s ability to resolve differences has a significant impact on their performance, plus impact the success of their organization.

Each program is customized based on our client’s strategic objectives. Please contact us to learn more.

360 Conflict Dynamics Profile

Ms. Stoker is trained and certified in Conflict Dynamics and the 360 Conflict Profile. She often incorporates this tool into her Conflict Mediation and Conflict Management clients. Even though you may only be involved in conflict a small percentage of the time, how you handle it can make or break a career, as well as determine the success of your organization.

This tool provides a clear view of what behaviors individuals use that help reduce conflict and what they may be doing that escalates the conflict from an below and above The Line perspective.

This 360 allows individuals involved in the conflict to receive an accurate picture of how they are perceived by others – including their Boss, Peers, and Direct Reports. Understanding how others view you creates greater insight behind how they evaluate you, interpret your actions, and behave towards you. The value in seeing the differences between your self-perception and how others perceive you, whether it is true or not, is critical to resolving conflict.

The process involves:

  • 360 on-line assessment (includes your boss, peers, and direct reports)
  • 22 page confidential report to the individual taking the 360
  • 2 hour one-on-one debriefing-coaching session
  • 120-page reference-support booklet with developmental feedback and worksheets.

Report includes:

  • An overall view of your perceptions versus others
  • Direct feedback from the 3 groups
  • Profile of Constructive vs. Destructive Responses and Active vs. passive
  • Summary of what conflict behaviors are especially valued and which are especially frowned upon in your organization.
  • Identifies your 'personal' hot buttons, behaviors in others that escalate the conflict for you

Every organization has it's own personality around conflict management; one of the most valuable aspects of this report is bringing awareness around what is viewed as ‘toxic’ responses, those that can be detrimental to one’s career.

This 360 tool was developed by the Center for Conflict Dynamics in conjunction with the Center for Creative Leadership. Please contact us directly for more information. References are available upon request.

Conflict Mediation

Despite best efforts there are times when conversations, negotiations, and partnerships break down requiring a neutral third party to mediate. Ms. Stoker quickly creates an environment of trust, a connection with all those involved. She builds success through listening, staying curious, and creating collaborative solutions. Clients respect Barbara’s innate talent for hearing ‘what’s not being said.’

Mediation is a dynamic and fluid progression that has several phases in which Ms. Stoker always uses ‘principled’ versus ‘positional’ negotiations. Although each client and conflict is unique and requires a customized approach with it’s own time lines, there are some universal components:

  • Ms. Stoker meets individually with each person involved to discuss their perspectives regarding possible trigger event(s), to determine what has precipitated and set the stage for the current issues. During the first round of conversations Barbara simply listens. In the second round she provides individual feedback and coaching. Based on these two rounds of meetings she develops a situational analysis with recommendations and next steps.
  • Creating awareness around how those involved in the conflict perceive each other creates greater insight into the situation. Barbara helps each person understand the filters others are using to evaluate them, interpret their actions, and behave towards them. The value in this, whether other’s perceptions are true or not, cannot be over-emphasized. To achieve this Ms. Stoker often incorporates an individual 360 Conflict Dynamic Profile assessment. These reports are confidential. Ms. Stoker debriefs the results and provides coaching with each person individually.
  • The Line, a structured thinking process is introduced to help each party evaluate the conflict through a neutral filter. The focus is on identifying the wisdom in each person’s ‘old story’ so that they can let go of what no longer serves them or the situation. During this phase Ms. Stoker drafts an Intention for the process, the core purpose that has everyone’s alignment.
  • 7 Step Conflict Resolution process is initiated.
  • Ms. Stoker drafts a collaborative resolution for this conflict, one that she believes is in the best interest of all parties. She presents this individually to each person to generate discussion, understanding, and agreement. Barbara then incorporates each person’s feedback into a revised draft. This process is continued, along with coaching, until a resolution is negotiated.

Read Barbara Stoker’s Bio or Contact Us for more information. References are available upon request.

Sucession Planning

In a 2003 study of 3,250 wealthy families, Williams and Preisser found that substantial wealth had disappeared in 70% of families by the end of the second generation. The number rose to 90% by the end of the third generation and 98% by the end of the fourth. Ms. Stoker works with family businesses using above The Line principles to create a foundation for healthy succession planning that keeps the organization viable for future generations professionally and personally.

The causes for this erosion include some expected reasons, such as the growth of the family. More surprisingly, the vast bulk of this erosion, well over 90%, could be attributed in some form to poor communication, low trust, inadequate preparation, lack of training for the next generation, and failures around creating a shared family mission and vision.

Running any business is hard, but when you add in family dynamics and individual ‘old stories’ the challenge can be overwhelming. Our firm specializes in helping family-owned businesses transition from one generation to the next by finding new solutions to old problems through an above The Line process.

Ms. Stoker helps families talk about the tough issues in a way that unites rather than divides. Topics include not only ownership succession, but also management succession. Identifying who will take over the leadership of the business can be one of the most sensitive, tough, and critically challenging dialogues a family can face.

Above The Line thinking allows individuals to agree on the ‘new vision’ while letting go of what’s holding them back from their individual ‘old stories’. It removes negativity and replaces it with optimism. It creates enthusiasm while minimizing both drama and apathy. Most importantly it instills trust, the key ingredient to success in any venture.

A key challenge families face is their lack of training in conflict resolution. This leads them to avoid difficult conversations, which allows small issues to grow into significant problems where emotions start to run hot. That is why Ms. Stoker often use different aspects of Conflict Mediation and Conflict Management along with Intelligent Risk Taking to help her clients find success.

Barbara works with all the key players to develop and find agreement on their Intention, New Vision, Mission Statement, Organizational Structure, Objectives, Strategies, and Tactics.

We’re interested in speaking with you directly to discuss how we might be able to support your Succession Planning needs. Please contact us for more information and references.