1Eighty Consulting

Working with organizations to create a safe culture
for communication and constructive confrontation

Even at church?  Really?

Yes, <<First Name>>, even at church.



It seems that every town has their "local color."  Bobby would be part of ours.  At 6' 2" and 210 pounds, Bobby leaves an impression.  He's been imprisoned several times for theft and burglary.  Bobby doesn't have a car, so he walks everywhere he goes.  He frequently panhandles outside of convenience stores in our area. 

Bobby Gets Religion

Just before the church service one of our members mentioned that he had seen Bobby sauntering through the church parking lot, peering into car windows.  I asked, "Is he still there?"  "No, I don't seen him now."  I was just about to be relieved when I noticed that Bobby had come in and taken a seat in the back of the church.  I hate to be cynical, but I asked one of our men to keep an eye on him.  Bobby sang along with everyone else and seemed attentive through the whole service.  Someone invited him to stay for the pot-luck dinner afterwards, and Bobby sat down with everyone else.  I began to relax, thinking, "Good!  He's just hungry, and we're happy to feed him."

Things Happen Fast

I looked up from a conversation I was having, and noticed that Bobby was gone.  Excusing myself, I stepped out into the hall just in time to see Bobby go down the hall.  Just then, one of the ladies tapped me on the shoulder and said, "One of the kids said they saw that man reach into the donation jar in the kitchen and pull out a wad of money and shove it into his pocket."  I headed down the hall to confront Bobby.


As I passed the corner in the hall, I saw in my peripheral vision that Bobby had seated himself on a bench and had just started unsnapping a woman's purse.  Surprised, he tossed it aside when he saw me and pretended to be just meditating. 

The Confrontation

There are 5 steps in a confrontation where you need immediate compliance and dialogue would be irrelevant.  Here's how it happened with Bobby...
They are:
1. Engage   (You initiate the contact.)
2. Ask 
3. Set Context 
   (Give them reasons why you are asking.) 
4. Give Options 
     The more you can keep it from sounding like a
     demand, the more likely they will comply. 
     Giving options at least creates the illusion that
     they are empowered in the exchange and they
     will be less likely to resist in order to create
      the illusion themselves.
5.  Ask again.   Simply repeat your request.

The Engage: Keep it very simple with no smalltalk.
      "Bobby, I need to talk to you for a moment."
      "OK.  What is it?"  (He had a "busted" look on
        his face.)
The Ask:   "I'm going to have to ask you to give
        me back the money you took from the
         kitchen."  (Then, give no chance for protest
         or denial.  Go immediately to Context.)
The Context: "The reason I'm asking is because
         someone actually saw you take it, and just
         now I also saw you going through Cindy's
         purse."   (Again, don't pause.)
The Options:  "Bobby, I'll let you decide. You can
         keep the money and leave, in which case
         we will be forced to file a police report.  Or,
         you can hand it back to me right now and
         we'll still be friends.  But it's up to you."
The Ask Again:  "Whad'ya say?  Can I
         have the money back?"
     He thrust his hand into his pocket, pulled out a wad of cash and handed it to me.  He said, "We good?"  I said, "I think so. Thanks. Now, do you want to come back in and finish dinner?"
"Naw.  I gotta get going."  And he left. 

The irony here is that had Bobby just asked, we would probably have helped him.

My experience is not unique, which is why Church Security or Safety Teams are a fast-growing trend. 
1Eighty Consulting has 2 new programs to address this need:  

"Tactical Confrontation for Church Security Teams"
    (for churches with an existing Security Team)

   "Church Security Consultation Package"
       (for churches starting from scratch)

Being regarded as a brilliant conversationalist is very counter-intuitive.  Here's how to do it:

"How to be Brilliant in Conversation (And Barely Say a Word)"
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Gary Sheely is the founder and CEO of 1Eighty Consulting.  He works with organizations that are dedicated to creating a culture where their people feel safe having constructive confrontation and confident in de-escalating angry people.

His clients learn skills that reduce "confrontation anxiety," so that needed confrontation can take place without creating tension, and angry encounters can be quickly de-esclated.


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