“Should I go with red, or white?”
“Should I confront him for his fault or talk to him?”
Many of us would have faced situations where we have to battle within to come to a conclusion or make a life-changing decision. Too often, such conflict is a result of our irrational thinking. This leads us to react to the situation, instead of acting, often ending with consequences that we didn’t want. We are left thinking- If only I knew how to resolve the conflict.
Meet Suzanne Petryshyn, founder and training designer at Peak Conflict Solutions. With a love for helping people overcome their conflict, she’s passionate about professional development. An entrepreneur at heart, she made her passion her life. Thus came Peak Conflict Solutions into existence.
Here’s a conversation with this lovely lady who’s helping numerous lives to solve their conflicts and help them to lead an amazing life.
First of all, we really loved the concept of Peak Conflict Solutions. And at a first glance, the name immediately catches the eye. What made you choose this name?
Suzanne: I work with a lot of people in workplace conflict or in conflict management training. Almost all of them tell me how the concept of conflict seems so overwhelming. How to know where to start, how to tackle it and how to overcome it. The vision I saw in these consistent stories was a huge mountain.
Also, there are the cliché questions to people like, “Is this the mountain you want to die on?”. These questions are mainly associated with decision-making about a situation and moving on. It made me think about how these conflicts are like huge mountain peaks, or ‘tip of an iceberg’. And of course the view from the top. So, it seemed fitting that my business name included Peak.
Another thing is that people are hypersensitive when they are in conflict. During my training and workshops, people also come believing that their conflict is the worst one could ever experience. Thus, being at the top of the peak gives them bird’s eye view. This helps them see the conflict from a different perspective, which is the first step to managing it.
From another perspective, being at top means we have to overcome the situation or the conflict. We have climbed the hills, the mountains, and now we can enjoy how it feels to have conquered it.
We’d love to know what made you choose this amazing journey?
Suzanne: I started in a regular job. I actually wanted to be a police officer. I took the post-secondary school and did a practicum. It was then I decided I didn’t want to do that type of crisis intervention work. But I wanted to help people.
I loved puzzles. I still do. I also like to look at relationships and communication and see the layers that we all take with us in any relationship. Helping people learn how to manage conflict in their relationships at work and at home is my passion. I took mediation training and started my own practice. It’s my passion showing others how easy it is to use these skills and strategies to solve conflicts. My philosophy is simple- conflict can be managed, and is only about behavior modification. Combining my passion with my philosophy, I opened my own training academy. I became accredited with professional associations. I drew my interest and experiences in the classroom from teaching and writing courses for post-secondary education. This helped me create my own programs.
What were the obstacles you faced when you began this journey, and what ups and downs you guys faced as you traversed on this path?
Suzanne: Wow… the obstacles were many! From startup financing to finding what works for marketing and sales. From organizing our CRM system to maintaining it. From publications across social media to content curation. There have been lots of challenges.
Being a business owner is a balancing act and it is often not easy. It is a lot of hustle to get the business formed in a tangible business model with tangible outcomes and measurement tools. You need to ensure you have sound business advice and a good accountant. Also, having a good lawyer, a financial advisor and a business coach for marketing and sales are also extremely important. THEN, you also need to know how and when to delegate.
The biggest challenge I faced in my 16+ years in business is figuring out that I cannot do it all. Tweet!
Being able to let go of the control of my ‘baby’ and know when and how to delegate was key to success. I am not an expert at design, accounting or sales. My passion and my job are to offer accredited training for conflict management. PERIOD. There are professionals in these other fields who are passionate about what they do. They are now a part of my wonderful team of support, and they help Peak thrive.
Tell us more about Peak Conflict Solutions?
Suzanne: I developed my mediation and training practice that has led to Peak Conflict Solutions in 1999. Demand for speaking at conferences, in-house training for workplaces and custom designed courses increased almost immediately after I started offering my services. In 2006, I decided to start offering standardized courses. I got them accredited through 2009.
After that, it was too busy for me to do it alone. So I found some really great people, who were innovative thinkers and doers. And thus, we began developing our online courses and online presence through to present day. To deliver the courses and events in the business model, we work with several businesses and professionals. This ensures that our clients are getting current, relevant and meaningful information. We are fortunate to have an engaged team of professionals. Their amazing work helps us achieve our goals. These include designers, photographers, web developers, writers, editors, social media strategists, advisors, and coaches.
What makes you guys different from any other conflict management (Or general self-management) organization?
Suzanne: Peak Conflict Solutions is set apart from other organizations. We are the ONLY academy that offers accredited conflict management training. This we do through Learning Retreats in the Rockies in Alberta, Canada.
We are also the ONLY academy that offers accredited curriculum designed for industry and post-secondary standards. For this, we use the Moodle platform for access on any device with an internet connection and a browser.
We are the only academy that offers direct accreditation certificates with professional associations. Big names like the Financial Planning Standards Council of Canada provide these certificates.
Curriculum design is important to me as an academic educator. Our courses at Peak, however, are not academic but are meant for professional development. I pride myself on the ethics of designing the courses that are of high degree of standards.
What does a typical day at Peak Conflict look like for you?
Suzanne: Hustle, coffee, engaging, interacting, watching, learning and having FUN! We are busy at Peak. Online, as well as face to face meetings, researching and connecting with clients.
Basically, from when I get up to when I get in the office, I ask myself, ‘How can I best help people manage conflict?’. Then, the pieces come together. I spend time reflecting in prayer and meditation first thing in the morning. Then make an aromatic French press of good quality coffee, take the time to connect with my family, create a list of items on my agenda. There are so many lists to organize the information so when I start my day, it is all organized and clear.
And then… I get busy doing them!
I check social media, newspapers and other online sources of information. I refill the French press around 10:00 AM and contact my team to connect with their progress. Post lunch, I get busy connecting with clients on the telephone, email or social media. The day ends with journaling the accomplishments. It also involves jotting down notes from the conversations that day. I also take down ideas for the next day, problems that may arise and follow-ups needed. This is for a day at the office!
Training days are different. I am to bed early the night before, up early by 05:30 AM to pray and meditate on the training day. French press, connect with family and off to the training sessions.
I hold off the news and other items on these days. I am more focused on being present and finding the best ways to connect and engage with my learners in the session. Then lunch, end of training and then debrief with my team about what worked. We go through the evaluations. And then I spend some time with nature, go for a walk or something to clear my thoughts. I connect with family and enjoy a restful evening. The next day is the hustle again.
Training days are very important to me and my business and all that we do at Peak. I need to be present from start to finish and give my very best. These days are exhausting because of my passion for teaching others about conflict management. I am “all in” from the time I get up to the time I go to bed that night. It is tiring and I need to ensure I am conserving energy and refueling throughout to give the very best I have to offer. They get it all…
What was the most “OMG” moment in this journey?
Suzanne: The biggest OMG moment was when I heard back from a previous client about how a small change from my course changed his life! It is very gratifying to hear such statements.
Another OMG moment was when I once started to delegate and was left to only focus on what I have to offer my clients. The passion started flowing again because I was not weighed down by thinking about entering receipts or finding the right picture for an article. Delegating saved my business and helped it grow.
Where is Peak Conflict Solutions heading now, and what are your future plans?
Suzanne: Peak Conflict Solutions is on the way to adopting a train-the-trainer program, starting in 2018. It will provide workplaces with licensed and standardized curriculum for new and existing hires. This curriculum can be delivered by HR, in-house training coordinators and team leads. It’ll ensure that all the employees at the workplace receive the skills and options for conflict management that works. These can be immediately applied at work and at home.
Given a chance to be able to reach out to all the awesome people across the world, what would you like to say?
Suzanne: My message to the world is this: As it relates to conflict… You need to know only one thing. Conflict is manageable. With skills. With options. With solutions. PERIOD…
On a closing note, if today, you can speak to all the entrepreneurs and the wantrepreneurs, what will you say to them?
Suzanne: From one entrepreneur to another, your first step should be to develop a business model. Use resources out there like Strategyzer. Buy a book. Read it. Implement the concepts you learn. Use the suggestions in the book. Design your business model. This is the foundation of your business. Once this is set up, you can focus on the passion of how and why you came to the door of entrepreneurship in the first place.