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Building Agreement

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Digital Marketing - Study Notes:

Once you’ve brought both parties together, you need to help them find common ground on which to build lasting agreement. How can you do this?

You must:

  • Create and agree ground rules
  • Engage in future-pacing

Create and agree ground rules

The purpose of creating and agreeing ground rules is to help create agreement on how both parties will behave or respond if anything like the original trigger for their conflict should arise again in the future.

You could say something like: “Let’s be honest. Despite what we’ve agreed here today, the things that used to trigger your reactions are likely to happen from time to time in the future, whether you mean them to or not. So what will you both want to do to prevent your old, knee-jerk reactions?”

Have each person write down what they will do specifically. You could also ask them to explain how they will signal to one another – like a set of simple ground rules. For example: “If you get angry and start to say that thing, I’ll look at you, I’ll smile and waggle my finger at you. And you’ll hold your hands up and say, ‘Oops, sorry, I’m doing it again!’ Then things will be okay between us.”

Have both parties take a copy of the ground rules and agree to refer to it in future.

Engage in future-pacing

This is a process of agreeing how both parties would like to get on with one another in the future. If it is appropriate, they could even agree to differ and respect their differences.

When they imagine the future and the pressures of the workplace with its everyday stresses and strains, they may conclude that it could prove difficult at times to stick to their ground rules. So have each party consider what those risk factors or flash points could be. And have them tell one another how they would prefer to relate to one another inside and outside of such circumstances.

Having done that, the final question is, “How do they feel about things now?” Generally, both parties tend to feel they can work constructively together, and the negative feelings have been defused.

Building agreement in action

Remember the two bloggers we mentioned earlier? They found peace at this stage and went on to work together well in their team. In fact, the younger blogger became like a mentor for the older blogger, keeping him up to date on exciting new technologies and apps. They still argue about how best to craft an effective blog, but their conflicts now spark greater creativity between the two of them. And they know each other well enough now to recognize their triggers and handle them accordingly.

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Bill Phillips and Will Francis

Bill Phillips is an International Facilitator, Trainer, and Team Coach.

  • Has successfully coached CEOs, board members, directors, executive teams, and team leaders in public and private companies, NGOs, and UN organizations in 15 countries across four continents
  • Is the creator of Future-basing®, a highly potent process for building strategy, vision, and cooperation
  • Inspires people to build excellent interpersonal relationships and achieve their goals

In this module, Bill is the instructor for the ‘Conflict Management’ lesson.


Will Francis is a Digital Marketing Consultant, Trainer, and Speaker.

  • Educates and consults for senior marketers at the world’s leading brands
  • Ran a successful digital ad agency in London for eight years
  • Editor of social network MySpace in the 00s
  • Regularly appears at conferences, in press, TV, and radio to share his experience and expertise
  • Previous clients include Samsung, Spotify, Marriott Hotels, Warner Music, Penguin Books, and Net A Porter

In this module, Will is the instructor for the ‘Crisis Management’ lesson.

The following pieces of content from the Digital Marketing Institute's Membership Library have been chosen to offer additional material that you might find interesting or insightful.

You can find more information and content like this on the Digital Marketing Institute's Membership Library

You will not be assessed on this content.


    Dealing With Conflicts and Crises
    Bill Phillips and Will Francis
    Skills Expert

    Every leader will be faced with conflicts between team members from time to time. Some leaders have to deal with major crises too, where the company’s reputation – and sometimes its very survival – may be at stake. This module can help you respond effectively in such situations.

    You will learn how to manage workplace conflicts effectively when they break out. You will discover techniques you can use to deal with the warring parties and defuse their anger, as well as helping them to resolve their issues and find common ground.

    You will also be introduced to the principles of crisis management. You will find out about the types of crises that typically affect organizations, and how you can prepare for them in advance. You will also learn how to handle crises in the short term, and the steps you can take to repair damage and rebuild trust with your customers in the long term.