Crisis of Connection

Dealing with Difficult People & Rebuilding Work Relationships

Jeff Hiller/Highbar Training

New tools for sharpening interpersonal skills, increasing collaboration and recharging common culture

About the Speaker:

Jeff Hiller, founder of Highbar Training, is a consultant and business coach who has trained over ten thousand professionals for Top 100 agencies & client companies in virtually every industry. His fast-paced, interactive programs are based on real world experience as agency exec, marketer and sales manager.   He was VP/Acct Director at Leo Burnett, winning 7 EFFIE Awards; Mktg/Creative Director for Houston Rockets; VP/Marketing for Four Hands, a 3-time Inc 500 Fastest Growing company; and Director of L&D/Content Chief for JB Training Solutions. He has worked with dozens of Omnicom, IPG and Publicis agencies and many regional independents. Advertiser clients include Marriott, Phillips 66 and Eli Lilly. Jeff graduated with honors from Dartmouth and lives in Austin, TX.


Before Covid, flexibility was the personnel frontline. Agencies worried that working from home would undermine productivity and collaborative spirit. And they were right.

After a brief surge, productivity has sunk like a rock, plunging as much as -20%. Meanwhile, employees have left the workforce in record numbers with no signs of coming back. Surveys show the two top reasons for the Great Resignation are old standbys: money and advancement, but #3 is a new concern…feeling disrespected.

Hybrid work makes things tougher for everybody in every discipline, especially next gen employees recognized for conflict avoidance and sensitivity. Zoom solved the tech problem, but without personal daily interactions, people feel increasingly disconnected, less inclined to say what needs to be said & more likely to take offense.

As agency teams get back to working in person, sharpening interpersonal skills is critical. Sharing legitimate concerns takes special care, especially with colleagues in other disciplines, but trust is the basis for every healthy relationship. Knowing what to say, when & how are essential to effective communication and collaboration.

Learn new tools to handle sticky situations, increase cohesiveness, and recharge common culture.

Key Takeaways

  • Establishing open, honest dialogues on vital issues
  • Handling critical conversations, defusing defensiveness
  • Navigating difficult situations with colleagues & peers

Who Should Attend

All disciplines and levels looking to strengthen relationships & make interactions more productive with agency colleagues

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