Elephant House PR Founder Beth Keeton Talks "From Conflict to Collaboration"

Elephant House PR Founder Beth Keeton Talks "From Conflict to Collaboration"

Sponsored Message
Learn More

ORLANDO, FL - It has been three weeks since the annual Women’s Fresh Perspectives Conference. Just about that window of time when the whirlwind of the day-to-day life that is fresh produce vocation might have swept away some of the new habits and resolutions the event instilled in the women of our industry. The perfect time for me to sit down with Beth Keeton, Founder of Elephant House PR, to reflect on the potential and strategic edge of her workshop "From Conflict to Collaboration.”

Beth Keeton, Founder, Elephant House PR“Conflict is a mental struggle,” Beth told a room full of produce professionals as she explained why this is an important transition in business communication. Collaboration, she countered, is an actionable step chosen to do something better together.

“The goal I set when I started the conversation with these women was that when we are able to collaborate, our businesses grow, our teams grow, and the bottom line grows. Leaders: If you can create a culture where traditionally tough conversations are welcomed and stewarded well, you will see growth and success, you will attract new talent, and you will see long-term results,” Beth shares with me as we reflect on the gains of these strategies.

At the Women's Fresh Perspectives Conference, Beth Keeton used her "From Conflict to Collaboration" workshop to emphasize the importance of communication and collaboration in the workplace

Top of mind for business longevity right now is a stable workforce, something that is challenging today, let alone ensuring the newest generation of employees come to fresh produce businesses and operations in the future.

“If your younger team members see you lead healthy in this area, they will be loyal and stay. Showing them you can have these healthy dialogues is crucial. Challenges are inevitable, but conflict is a choice where collaboration is a winning option,” Beth points out.

With a stable workforce being key for business longevity, Beth shared vital tools for leaders to create a culture of growth and success

Just a few steps in learning how to evolve challenging conversations into opportunities to collaborate from Beth’s workshop included:

The art of paraphrasing

  • Rather than “You said…” which assumes and can create conflict; paraphrasing your experience and clarifying it is your experience opens a door to collaboration

No villains and victims

  • Continue stating your facts in a “my experience” language and keep in mind the conversation is between equal parties who want to create a safe environment in our work, even if one is the “boss” of another

Putting yourself in their shoes should be a last step

  • This struck me as counter-intuitive, but as Beth pointed out, it’s more your assumption and less a collaboration. This should actually only be enacted when you’ve tried all other open and inviting tactics and someone will not engage


Bottom line: Too many at all levels wish more leaders knew how to have difficult conversations in a healthy way—even the leaders!

“There is a reason From Conflict to Collaboration was a workshop and not a session of me spouting facts,” Beth laughed. “I wanted to model what I was saying. Accountability and unity are the most important part of all of this. While this took place at a women’s conference, it’s not men versus women—it’s addressing challenging co-work situations like lateness, over-talking in meetings, anything where someone feels unheard or unrepresented.”

Define the challenge, make it safe, listen, and be accountable. These are the steps Beth leaves me with when it comes to taking on this next step in business leadership in our industry. To remember that conflict is a choice you can pivot from toward collaboration.

Elephant House PR

Companies in this Story

Elephant House PR

At Elephant House, we're the experts in creative and strategic storytelling distributed through meaningful relationships…