When one of my necklace chains gets tangled, I invariably want to try to untangle it by hand. It looks so simple, like you could just wiggle it apart and be on your way, but it never is.

What I have found is that using two pins to dislodge a knot is the way to do it. One pin holds the chain in place while the other pin is used to untangle the chain at the knot and efficiently pull it apart. Works like a charm every time.

I think the necklace untangling is a metaphor for how it works to pull apart conflicts in organizations. It seems like it should be easy, but often is not. The more you resist, the tighter the obstruction becomes. A few key tools (or people) go a long way in diffusing the situation: one to hold steady, another to work cautiously to make small movements of progress. The untangling happens with a little loosening here and a little loosening there until the knot has worked its way through the chain and the necklace (or situation) is smoothed out.

Untangling – whether in organizations or in jewelry – is a process of small movements that eventually lead to resolution. Hold steady and go slow to smooth out your knots.


About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

Dr. beth triplett is the owner of leadership dots, offering coaching, training and consulting for new supervisors. She also shares daily lessons on her leadershipdots blog. Her work is based on the leadership dots philosophy that change happens through the intentional connecting of small steps in the short term to the big picture in the long term.

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