img

The Coefficient of Restitution

The Coefficient of Restitution (COR) is a measure of the “restitution” of a collision between two objects: how much of the kinetic energy remains for the objects to rebound from one another vs. how much is lost as heat, or work done deforming the objects. It is basically concerned with the resumption of an object’s original shape or position through elastic recoil.

Now elastic recoil is something we all need. We have often stated that business is a contact sport and to survive you need to develop some pointy elbows…… Conflict is a normal and natural aspect of relationships. As human beings, we are primed to respond to stress with a fight or flight response but often, neither of these choices is appropriate. Therefore, we need to find a way to address conflict that is direct and assertive, while also being respectful and empathetic.

Some people fear conflict and go to considerable lengths to avoid it, which can often backfire but if handled effectively, conflict can be an opportunity for learning, growth and positive change. Indeed as leaders we simply need to be excellent at handling conflict productively.

The first thing to remember in handling conflict is to try and remove the emotion out of the situation and generally in business things should be kept on a ‘work not personal’ basis. However, if you feel your emotions starting to get the better of you, take a moment to get things back in check and try to gain some perspective.

Because much of communication is nonverbal, be aware of your facial expressions, hand gestures, and body language to ensure you are sending the message that you want to be received. You should always avoid criticism, contempt, stonewalling and defensiveness.

The ability to show you understand how the other person feels is perhaps the single most powerful communication skill in a conflict situation. It allows the person to feel heard and diffuses the emotion. You do not have to agree with their perspective, but you can show you understand their feelings.

Listen and really hear the other person. Gain clarity by asking questions to gather information. Consider other perspectives or solutions. Look for the compromise or “win-win” but avoid being passive, aggressive or passive-aggressive. Say no to what you can’t do, and be open to negotiation and compromise. Express your feelings in a way that is clear, direct and appropriate.

The reality in all this is that you can control your own behaviors and responses but you cannot control the behaviours and actions of others. So save everybody time by owning up to your own poor behaviors. This is not a sign of weakness, rather it demonstrates awareness and integrity and will likely expedite successful resolution.

The coefficient of restitution is defined as the ratio of relative speeds after and before an impact, taken along the line of the impact – the restoration of something to its original state. Handling conflict well ensures that you can restore your own equilibrium and all parties can get back to focusing on what is important. What we don’t need is crumple zones that leave us unserviceable.

We all need to develop elastic recoil. We are inevitably going to bang heads with others but the secret to success is how quickly and effectively we can deal with it and get back to delivering on our goals and objectives……

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *