Win at Workplace Conflict

workplace-conflict-resolutionNo matter how sound or well-intentioned your ideas, there will always be people inside — and outside — your organization who are going to oppose you. Getting things done often means that you’re going to go head to head with people who have competing agendas. In my career studying organizational behavior, I’ve had the privilege of witnessing some incredibly effective conflict management techniques. I’ve distilled a few of them into some rules for dealing with organizational conflict:

1. Stay focused on the most essential objectives.

It’s easy to become aggravated by other people’s actions and forget what you were trying to achieve in the first place. Here we can learn a lesson from Rudy Crew, a former leader in the New York City and Miami-Dade County schools.

When Crew was verbally attacked by Representative Rafael Arza, a Florida legislator, who used one of the nastiest racial slurs to describe Crew, an African-American, Crew filed a complaint with the legislature but then essentially went on with his work. As he told me at the time, a significant fraction of the Miami schoolchildren were not reading at grade level. Responding to every nasty comment could become a full time job but, more importantly, would do nothing to improve the school district’s performance. Arza was eventually expelled from the legislature. Crew’s takeway? Figure out: “what does winning look like?” If the conflict were over and you found that you had won, what would that look like? Which leads to the second rule…

2. Don’t fight over things that don’t matter.

For a while, Dr. Laura Esserman, a breast cancer surgeon at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), and a leader of fundamental change in breast cancer treatment and research, was sponsoring a digital mammography van to serve poor women in San Francisco. The sponsorship was taking a lot of time and effort — she’d had trouble raising money for the service after the Komen Foundation had reneged on a pledge of support. Her department chair was worried about the department’s budget and why a department of surgery was running a radiology service. The hospital CFO was not interested in funding a mammography service that would generate unreimbursed care while the university was raising debt to build a new campus. And Esserman herself did not (and does not) believe that mammography was the way forward for improving breast cancer outcomes. After figuring out that sponsoring the mamo-van was absorbing disproportionate effort and creating unnecessary conflict with important people inside UCSF, Esserman offloaded the van. It smoothed the relationship with her boss and allowed her to focus on higher-leverage activities.

3. Build an empathetic understanding of others’ points of view.

As the previous example illustrates, sometimes people fight over personalities, but often they have a reason for being in conflict. It helps to understand what others’ objectives and measures are, which requires looking at the world through their eyes. Don’t presume evil or malevolent intent. For example, an ongoing struggle in the software industry has centered around when to release a product. Engineers often want to delay a product release in the pursuit of perfection, because the final product speaks to the quality of their work. Sales executives, on the other hand, are rewarded for generating revenue. It’s therefore in their best interest to sell first and fix second. Each is pursuing reasonable interests consistent with their rewards and professional training — not intentionally trying to be difficult.

4. Adhere to the old adage: keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.

The late President Lyndon Johnson had a difficult relationship with the always-dangerous (because he had secret files on everybody) FBI director, J. Edgar Hoover. When asked why he spent time talking to Hoover and massaging his ego, Johnson was quoted as saying: “It’s probably better to have him inside the tent pissing out, than outside the tent pissing in.” This is tough advice to follow, because people naturally like pleasant interactions and seek to avoid discomfort. Consequently, we tend to shun those with whom we’re having disagreements. Bad idea. You cannot know what others are thinking or doing if you don’t engage with them.

5. Use humor to defuse difficult situations.

When Ronald Reagan ran for president of the United States, he was (at the time) the oldest person to have ever been a candidate for that office. During the October 21, 1984 Kansas City debate with the democratic candidate, Walter Mondale, one of the questioners asked Reagan if he thought age would be an issue in the upcoming election. His reply? “I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience.”

Let’s face it: you’re going to have conflict in the workplace. It’s unavoidable. But if you keep these simple — albeit difficult to act on – rules in mind, you’ll learn to navigate conflict more productively.

Source: Harvard Business Review

jeffrey-pfeffer-management-book3About Jeffrey Pfeffer – Expert on Management and Corporate Culture:

Jeffrey Pfeffer is the Thomas D. Dee II Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University where he has taught since 1979. He is a leadership and management speaker and the author or co-author of thirteen books including The Human Equation: Building Profits by Putting People First, Managing with Power, Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths, and Total Nonsense: Profiting from Evidence-Based Management, and What Were They Thinking? Unconventional Wisdom About Management, a collection of 27 essays about management topics, as well as more than 120 articles and book chapters. Pfeffer’s latest book, entitled Power: Why Some People Have It—And Others Don’t was published in September, 2010.

Dr. Pfeffer received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from Carnegie-Mellon University and his Ph.D. from Stanford. He began his career at the business school at the University of Illinois and then taught at the University of California, Berkeley. Pfeffer has been a visiting professor at the Harvard Business School, Singapore Management University, London Business School, and a frequent visitor at IESE in Barcelona.

For more information on Dr. Jeffrey Pfeffer, please visit: The Sweeney Agency

Borderlands: The View From Azerbaijan

41592I arrive in Azerbaijan as the country celebrates Victory Day, the day successor states of the former Soviet Union celebrate the defeat of Germany in World War II. No one knows how many Soviet citizens died in that war — perhaps 22 million. The number is staggering and represents both the incompetence and magnificence of Russia, which led the Soviets in war. Any understanding of Russia that speaks of one without the other is flawed.

As I write, fireworks are going off over the Caspian Sea. The pyrotechnics are long and elaborate, sounding like an artillery barrage. They are a reminder that Baku was perhaps the most important place in the Nazi-Soviet war. It produced almost all of the Soviet Union’s petroleum. The Germans were desperate for it and wanted to deny it to Moscow. Germany’s strategy after 1942, including the infamous battle of Stalingrad, turned on Baku’s oil. In the end, the Germans threw an army against the high Caucasus guarding Baku. In response, an army raised in the Caucasus fought and defeated them. The Soviets won the war. They wouldn’t have if the Germans had reached Baku. It is symbolic, at least to me, that these celebrations blend into the anniversary of the birth of Heydar Aliyev, the late president of Azerbaijan who endured the war and later forged the post-Soviet identity of his country. He would have been 91 on May 10.

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Baku is strategic again today, partly because of oil. I’ve started the journey here partly by convenience and partly because Azerbaijan is key to any counter-Russian strategy that might emerge. My purpose on this trip is to get a sense of the degree to which individual European states feel threatened by Russia, and if they do, the level of effort and risk they are prepared to endure. For Europe does not exist as anything more than a geographic expression; it is the fears and efforts of the individual nation-states constituting it that will determine the course of this affair. Each nation is different, and each makes its own calculus of interest. My interest is to understand their thinking, not only about Russia but also about the European Union, the United States and ultimately themselves. Each is unique; it isn’t possible to make a general statement about them.

Some question whether the Caucasus region and neighboring Turkey are geographically part of Europe. There are many academic ways to approach this question. My approach, however, is less sophisticated. Modern European history cannot be understood without understanding the Ottoman Empire and the fact that it conquered much of the southeastern part of the European peninsula. Russia conquered the three Caucasian states — Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan — and many of their institutions are Russian, hence European. If an organic European expression does exist, it can be argued to be Eurovision, the pan-continental music competition. The Azerbaijanis won it in 2011, which should settle any debate on their “Europeanness.”

But more important, a strategy to block Russia is hard to imagine without including its southern flank. There is much talk of sanctions on Russia. But sanctions can be countered and always ignore a key truth: Russia has always been economically dysfunctional. It has created great empires and defeated Napoleon and Hitler in spite of that. Undermining Russia’s economy may be possible, but that does not always undermine Russia’s military power. That Soviet military power outlived the economically driven collapse of the Soviet Union confirms this point. And the issue at the moment is military.

The solution found for dealing with the Soviet Union during the Cold War was containment. The architect of this strategy was diplomat George Kennan, whose realist approach to geopolitics may have lost some adherents but not its relevance. A cordon sanitaire was constructed around the Soviet Union through a system of alliances. In the end, the Soviets were unable to expand and choked on their own inefficiency. There is a strange view abroad that the 21st century is dramatically different from all prior centuries and such thinking is obsolete. I have no idea why this should be so. The 21st century is simply another century, and there has been no transcendence of history. Containment was a core strategy and it seems likely that it will be adopted again — if countries like Azerbaijan are prepared to participate.

To understand Azerbaijan you must begin with two issues: oil and a unique approach to Islam. At the beginning of the 20th century, over half the world’s oil production originated near Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. Hence Hitler’s strategy after 1942. Today, Azerbaijani energy production is massive, but it cannot substitute for Russia’s production. Russian energy production, meanwhile, defines part of the strategic equation. Many European countries depend substantially on Russian energy, particularly natural gas. They have few alternatives. There is talk of U.S. energy being shipped to Europe, but building the infrastructure for that (even if there are supplies) will take many years before it can reduce Europe’s dependence on Russia.

Withholding energy would be part of any Russian counter to Western pressure, even if Russia were to suffer itself. Any strategy against Russia must address the energy issue, begin with Azerbaijan, and be about more than production. Azerbaijan is not a major producer of gas compared to oil. On the other side of the Caspian Sea, however, Turkmenistan is. Its resources, coupled with Azerbaijan’s, would provide a significant alternative to Russian energy. Turkmenistan has an interest in not selling through Russia and would be interested in a Trans-Caspian pipeline. That pipeline would have to pass through Azerbaijan, connecting onward to infrastructure in Turkey. Assuming Moscow had no effective counters, this would begin to provide a serious alternative to Russian energy and decrease Moscow’s leverage. But this would all depend on Baku’s willingness and ability to resist pressure from every direction.

Azerbaijan lies between Russia and Iran. Russia is the traditional occupier of Azerbaijan and its return is what Baku fears the most. Iran is partly an Azeri country. Nearly a quarter of its citizens, including Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, are Azeri. But while both Azerbaijan and Iran are predominantly Shiite, Azerbaijan is a militantly secular state. Partly due to the Soviet experience and partly because of the unique evolution of Azeri identity since the 19th century, Azerbaijan separates the private practice of Islam from public life. I recall once attending a Jewish Passover feast in Baku that was presided over by an Orthodox rabbi, with security provided by the state. To be fair, Iran has a Jewish minority that has its own lawmaker in parliament. But any tolerance in Iran flows from theocratic dogma, whereas in Azerbaijan it is rooted in a constitution that is more explicitly secular than any in the European Union, save that of France.

This is just one obvious wedge between Azerbaijan and Iran, and Tehran has made efforts to influence the Azeri population. For the moment, relations are somewhat better but there is an insoluble tension that derives from geopolitical reality and the fact that any attack on Iran could come from Azerbaijan. Furthering this wedge are the close relations between Azerbaijan and Israel. The United States currently blocks most weapons sales to Azerbaijan. Israel — with U.S. approval — sells the needed weapons. This gives us a sense of the complexity of the relationship, recalling that complexity undermines alliances.

The complexity of alliances also defines Russia’s reality. It occupies the high Caucasus overlooking the plains of Azerbaijan. Armenia is a Russian ally, bound by an agreement that permits Russian bases through 2044. Yerevan also plans to join the Moscow-led Customs Union, and Russian firms own a large swath of the Armenian economy. Armenia feels isolated. It remains hostile to Turkey for Ankara’s unwillingness to acknowledge events of a century ago as genocide. Armenia also fought a war with Azerbaijan in the 1990s, shortly after independence, for a region called Nagorno-Karabakh that had been part of Azerbaijan — a region that it lost in the war and wants back. Armenia, caught between Turkey and an increasingly powerful Azerbaijan, regards Russia as a guarantor of its national security.

For Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh remains a critical issue. Azerbaijan holds that U.N. resolutions have made it clear that Armenia’s attack constituted a violation of international law, and a diplomatic process set up in Minsk to resolve the crisis has proven ineffective. Azerbaijan operates on two tracks on this issue. It pursues national development, as can be seen in Baku, a city that reflects the oil wealth of the country. It will not endanger that development, nor will it forget about Nagorno-Karabakh. At some point, any nation aligning itself with Azerbaijan will need to take a stand on this frozen conflict, and that is a high price for most.

Which leads me to an interesting symmetry of incomprehension between the United States and Azerbaijan. The United States does not want to sell weapons directly to Azerbaijan because of what it regards as violations of human rights by the Azerbaijani government. The Americans find it incomprehensible that Baku, facing Russia and Iran and needing the United States, cannot satisfy American sensibilities by avoiding repression — a change that would not threaten the regime. Azerbaijan’s answer is that it is precisely the threats it faces from Iran and Russia that require Baku to maintain a security state. Both countries send operatives into Azerbaijan to destabilize it. What the Americans consider dissidents, Azerbaijan sees as agents of foreign powers. Washington disputes this and continually offends Baku with its pronouncements. The Azerbaijanis, meanwhile, continually offend the Americans.

This is similar to the Nagorno-Karabakh issue. Most Americans have never heard of it and don’t care who owns it. For the Azerbaijanis, this is an issue of fundamental historical importance. They cannot understand how, after assisting the United States in Afghanistan, risking close ties with Israel, maintaining a secular Islamic state and more, the United States not only cannot help Baku with Nagorno-Karabakh but also insists on criticizing Azerbaijan.

The question on human rights revolves around the interpretation of who is being arrested and for what reason. For a long time this was an issue that didn’t need to be settled. But after the Ukrainian crisis, U.S.-Azerbaijani relations became critical. It is not just energy; rather, in the event of the creation of a containment alliance, Azerbaijan is the southeastern anchor of the line on the Caspian Sea. In addition, since Georgia is absolutely essential as a route for pipelines, given Armenia’s alliance with Russia, Azerbaijan’s support for Georgian independence is essential. Azerbaijan is the cornerstone for any U.S.-sponsored Caucasus strategy, should it develop.

I do not want to get into the question of either Nagorno-Karabakh or human rights in Azerbaijan. It is, for me, a fruitless issue arising from the deep historical and cultural imperatives of each. But I must take exception to one principle that the U.S. State Department has: an unwillingness to do comparative analysis. In other words, the State Department condemns all violations equally, whether by nations hostile to the United States or friendly to it, whether by countries with wholesale violations or those with more limited violations. When the State Department does pull punches, there is a whiff of bias, as with Georgia and Armenia, which — while occasionally scolded — absorb less criticism than Azerbaijan, despite each country’s own imperfect record.

Even assuming the validity of State Department criticism, no one argues that Azerbaijani repression rises anywhere near the horrors of Joseph Stalin. I use Stalin as an example because Franklin Roosevelt allied the United States with Stalin to defeat Hitler and didn’t find it necessary to regularly condemn Stalin while the Soviet Union was carrying the burden of fighting the war, thereby protecting American interests. That same geopolitical realism animated Kennan and ultimately created the alliance architecture that served the United States throughout the Cold War. Is it necessary to offend someone who will not change his behavior and whom you need for your strategy? The State Department of an earlier era would say no.

It was interesting to attend a celebration of U.S.-Azerbaijani relations in Washington the week before I came to Baku. In the past, these events were subdued. This one was different, because many members of Congress attended. Two guests were particularly significant. One was Charles Schumer of New York, who declared the United States and Azerbaijan to be great democracies. The second was Nancy Pelosi, long a loyalist to Armenian interests. She didn’t say much but chose to show up. It is clear that the Ukrainian crisis triggered this turnout. It is clear that Azerbaijan’s importance is actually obvious to some in Congress, and it is also clear that it signals tension over the policy of criticizing human rights records without comparing them to those of other countries and of ignoring the criticized country’s importance to American strategy.

This is not just about Azerbaijan. The United States will need to work with Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary — all of whom have been found wanting by the State Department in some ways. This criticism does not — and will not — produce change. Endless repetition of the same is the height of ineffectiveness. It will instead make any strategy the United States wants to construct in Europe ineffective. In the end, I would argue that a comparison between Russia and these other countries matters. Perfect friends are hard to find. Refusing to sell weapons to someone you need is not a good way to create an alliance.

In the past, it seemed that such an alliance was merely Cold War nostalgia by people who did not realize and appreciate that we had reached an age too wise to think of war and geopolitics. But the events in Ukraine raise the possibility that those unreconstructed in their cynicism toward the human condition may well have been right. Alliances may in fact be needed. In that case, Roosevelt’s attitude toward Stalin is instructive.

Source: Forbes | Borderlands: The View From Azerbaijan

About Dr. George Friedman – Speaker and Author on the Future of Geopolitics:

Dr. George Friedman is the Chief Executive Officer and founder of STRATFOR. Since 1996 Dr. Friedman has driven the strategic vision guiding STRATFOR to global prominence in private geopolitical intelligence and forecasting. A very popular keynote speaker on the future of international politics and economics, Dr. Friedman is in high demand at numerous conferences and industry-specific events for major financial firms such as JP Morgan, Citibank, Ernst & Young and many Fortune 500 companies. In addition he has briefed the Australian Command and Staff College, Eglin Air Force Research Laboratory, U.S. Marine Corps Command and Staff College and many other military and government organizations. Dr. Friedman is frequently invited to speak internationally, including in Turkey, Germany, Poland, Azerbaijan, Australia and New Zealand.

Dr. Friedman is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Next Decade: Where We’ve Been…and Where We’re Going, which forecasts the major events and challenges that will test America and the American President over the course of the next decade. Dr. Friedman’s previous book, The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century was also a New York Times bestseller and was published in over 20 languages. His other books on warfare and intelligence have included America’s Secret War, The Future of War and The Intelligence Edge.

For more information on George Friedman, please visit: The Sweeney Agency

Behind every story stock is a great storytelling CEO

Nick MorganOpinion: Innovation and motivation hinge on clear communication

It has become fashionable to exhort leaders to tell stories, but why? What’s really at stake? Is it just a matter of making yourself a slightly more interesting leader?

No. Stories have enormous power to change our perception of reality. Before Michael Lewis’s book Flash Boys , few people understood — and even fewer were outraged by — the anticipatory trading and shadow trading that the so-called Flash Boys were carrying out in the nanoseconds between a buy and a sell order on the highly automated stock exchanges in New York and around the world. That activity — essentially introducing a middleman between the buyers and sellers where none was needed – cost the market tiny amounts of money for each trade, and added up to billions. But nobody cared.

Because the whole process was so complex and computerized that it was essentially invisible to the world.

Once Flash Boys hit the bookstores, however, the world took notice. People were outraged, and government agencies suddenly started investigations.

Lewis replaced the invisible computers with three things: a hero, bad guys, and conflict between them — a conflict that will ultimately be resolved in some interesting way. Once those elements are in place, we have a story and we humans are hard-wired to care. We want to know how the conflict is resolved, and how the story will turn out.

Steve Jobs performed a similar feat when he started telling the story of Apple as a quest to bring us beautiful, elegant machines that would liberate us from Big Brother, conformism, and the tedium of modern life, circa 1984.

Lead with your words

When we tell stories, we engage the deep part of our brains, where emotions are involved, and we listen in a different way than when someone is telling us what to do. It’s the difference between hearing, “Once upon a time,” and hearing “There are five things I need you to do before the close of business today. . . .”

One enchants, the other overtaxes. Knowing how to tell good stories isn’t just interesting; it’s an essential leadership strategy. In fact, in an era of information overload, it’s an essential life strategy.

Here’s what’s going on. When a speaker begins to tell a story to a listener, their brains begin to match up. The better the story, and the better the listener understands the story, the closer the match.

So when we communicate with someone else effectively, we do something that has been described colloquially for a few generations: we get on the same wavelength. Literally. Our brain patterns match each other.

It’s a leadership Jedi mind trick.

We want to achieve this state. It’s a mistake to think that most humans prefer the solitary life that so much of modern life imposes on us. We are most comfortable when we’re sharing strong emotions and stories, led by a powerful, charismatic leader who is keeping us safe and together.

If you want to lead groups of people to achieve more than any individual can achieve alone, this is how you do it. You learn how to be a storyteller who taps into the deep stories of human history and mythology to bring your message into being.

Know your audience

How do you tell good stories? Hook into one of the five fundamental stories that make up our cultural heritage: the quest; stranger in a strange land; rags to riches; revenge, and love story.

These basic stories get told time and again with different details by Hollywood, by great writers, by political storytellers, and by brilliant businesspeople.

In order to get the attention your idea deserves, don’t recite facts; we can’t remember them. Don’t tell anecdotes, which is what most people do when they think they’re telling stories. Tell one of the five big stories.

Flash Boys is a revenge story — particularly appreciated in this angry age of ours. People love revenge stories because they help us maintain our belief in a just world. In Flash Boys , there’s a wrong being done — investors are getting cheated — and a hero points the way to justice by starting an alternate exchange where the wicked can no longer prosper.

Revenge stories, like the other genres mentioned, move us deeply. We want to believe that they are true, because they help us maintain our belief that the world is not completely random, that there is justice, and community, and the other values we adhere to.

Storytelling is one way that we reaffirm our humanity and our shared values. It’s an essential tool for successful leadership. If you don’t know what story you’re telling, you’re not ready to lead.

Source: Market Watch | The Wall Street Journal

power cuesAbout Dr. Nick Morgan – One of America’s Top Communication Theorists and Coaches:

A passionate teacher, Dr. Nick Morgan is committed to helping people find clarity in their thinking and ideas—and then delivering them with panache. He has been commissioned by Fortune 50 companies to write for many CEOs and presidents. He has coached people to give Congressional testimony, to appear on the Today Show, and to take on the investment community. He has worked widely with political and educational leaders. And he has helped design conferences and prepare keynote speeches around the world.

Nick’s methods, which are well-known for challenging conventional thinking, have been published worldwide. His latest book is Trust Me: Four Steps to Authenticity and Charisma, published in December 2008 by Jossey-Bass. His acclaimed book on public speaking, Working the Room: How to Move People to Action through Audience-Centered Speaking was published by Harvard in 2003 and reprinted in paperback in 2005 as Give Your Speech, Change the World: How to Move Your Audience to Action.

Nick served as editor of the Harvard Management Communication Letter from 1998 — 2003. He has written hundreds of articles for local and national publications. Nick is a former Fellow at the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

After earning his Ph.D. in literature and rhetoric, Nick spent a number of years teaching Shakespeare and Public Speaking at the University of Virginia and Princeton University. He first started writing speeches for Virginia Governor Charles S. Robb and went on to found his own communications consulting organization, Public Words, in 1997.

Nick attributes his success to his honest and direct approach that challenges even the most confident orators to rethink how they communicate.

For more information on Dr. Nick Morgan, please visit: The Sweeney Agency

Meet Celebrity Chef and Gastronaut, Bob Blumer

Photo-Bob-cooking4

Culinary adventurer, chef, artist and seven time Guinness World Record holder Bob Blumer is the creator and host of the television series Surreal Gourmet, and Glutton for Punishment, and a producer and host of World’s Weirdest Restaurants. His shows air in over twenty countries world-wide.

In World’s Weirdest Restaurants, the passionate and indefatigable gastronaut circles the globe in his quest to find the world’s weirdest and wackiest restaurants. Some of his discoveries include a Japanese isakaya where Macaque monkeys serve beer, a New York City pop-up where patrons dine in the nude, and Modern Toilet in Taipei where curry is served in miniature porcelain toilet bowls.

On Surreal Gourmet and in his books, Bob transforms ordinary ingredients into wow-inspiring dishes through simple cooking methods and whimsical presentations. Along with his iconic Toastermobile, they have become his culinary trademark. Blumer’s artful approach to cooking, confidence-inspiring instructions, and contagious enthusiasm endear him to a loyal following in North America, Asia, and Europe—territories where he travels regularly.

On Glutton for Punishment, Bob channels his passion for food and his competitive nature into a series of culinary adventures that are inspiring, entertaining and often amusing. In every episode, he has five days to learn a physically daunting culinary skill, then he is thrown to the wolves as he competes in a related professional competition, or attempts to rise to the occasion of a challenge. In the fifth and final season of the show, Bob successfully broke or established seven food-related Guinness World Records.

Glutton-Final-coverBob is also the author of five acclaimed cookbooks and the co-author of the best-selling Pizza on the Grill. His most recent book Glutton for Pleasure: signature recipes, epic stories and surreal etiquette was summed up by Publisher’s Weekly as Equal parts memoir, lavish art book, multi-genre soundtrack and culinary tour de force.

Bob has been an ambassador for Second Harvest in Toronto for 5 years, and helps to raise funds for several other noble causes. He also makes personal appearances and presents his signature surreal meals around the globe. In 2013 he returned to his artistic roots, creating a show of 25 surreal wine glasses and decanters that he exhibited in Napa, CA, and designing a Surreal Gourmet Suite for Toronto’s legendary Gladstone Hotel (see article below). When he is not traveling for work or pleasure—which is most of the time — the transplanted Canadian cycles daily in the canyons near his home in the Hollywood Hills, doing his best to stay in shape for his next big adventure.

For more information on Bob Blumer, please visit: https://bit.ly/Qh2fyn

Bob Blumer designed a hotel suite in Toronto, and it looks delicious: A tour of the celebrity chef’s Surreal Gourmet Room