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Three Deep Breaths
Understanding the Magic of Conflict
Mind/Body Training – A Journey to Center
Empowerment/Energy Development
The Discovery Model
The Thomas Crum Approach

The Thomas Crum Approach is the basis for Tom’s organizational programs, residential workshops, and personal coaching. Many of the principles and tools taught in the Thomas Crum Approach are presented in Thomas Crum’s books, videos, and other products.

The overall purpose of the Thomas Crum Approach is to provide you with skills to:

  • Turn conflict into powerful relationships
  • Turn stress into health and vitality
  • Turn pressure into peak performance
  • Develop the art of centered leadership

© Doug Ellis

You were the hit of our Sales Meeting! Thanks so much for your insights and enthusiasm. Everyone on my team made it a point to tell me that your lessons would prove valuable not only in their jobs, but in their lives.

Steve Riley, VP, Director of Sales, Carter Products

A variety of principles, as well as practical tools for applying these principles, comprise the Thomas Crum Approach. Here is an overview of their content and their potential application to your life:

Three Deep Breaths  

Often the title of Tom’s presentations and the title and essence of his new book, the Three Deep Breaths practice is exactly that – a powerful, yet simple technique to balance yourself anywhere, any time.

In the past 30 years, there have been well over 2000 peer-review studies of mind/body medicine that show us that mind/body techniques, such as Three Deep Breaths, which focus on proper breathing, deep relaxation, and mindfully choosing our perspectives, can actually bring balance to our autonomic nervous system. They teach us that mind/body exercises can be far more valuable than any symptom-treating pill for many our modern-day ills.

This simple practice can be used right in the moment. Even in the heat of anger or upset, the first breath can calm and soothe your body, the second breath can restore the tranquility of your mind, and the third breath can reunite you with the spirit.

Understanding the Magic of Conflict

This material was first introduced in Tom’s book, The Magic of Conflict.  It is designed to help you:

  • Uncover conflict’s true purpose as well as the myths that have masked that purpose in present day society.
  • Explore the true nature and value of conflict
  • Replace your knee-jerk reactions to conflict with a discovering attitude that adds value to your life.
  • Examine your tendencies in conflict and appreciate other responses.
  • Learn new responses to conflict to avoid conflict escalation.
  • Learn to recognize certain reactions in others and be better equipped to deal with them.

With this material you will have the fundamental principles of successful conflict resolution!

I would like to thank you for presenting the Magic of Conflict at our National Diversity Development Conference. The idea of taking conflict and turning it around to work for the good of a relationship was very enlightening.

Sheryl McCullough, Manager, Diversity Policies and Programs, US Postal Service

Mind-Body Training – A Journey to Center

Your ability to achieve a calm, centered state in the midst of a problem increases the likelihood of a problem being resolved quickly and peacefully. The material in this teaching tool draws upon Tom’s expertise in Aikido and other mind/body arts and his book, Journey to Center. It is intended to help you:

  • Experience and learn how to recognize and train in centeredness (a mind/body state of increased calm and heightened awareness).
  • Learn daily training techniques in centering which help prevent the build-up of stress and conflict.
  • Learn to honor emotions while operating out of purpose and vision.

When this material is included in an organizational workshop, the basics of a centered working environment are covered. When team members develop these skills, centering becomes their more natural response, making it easier to create an environment of rapport, creativity, and smoothly flowing communication.

Empowerment/Energy Development

The best way to assure peak performance and optimal safety in the workplace is for each member of a team to be 100% ready to do his/her job and offer a hand to others. This requires responsible, positive team members. This material helps empower people and expand their understanding of the meaning of power and their ability to maximize it for individual and team effectiveness. When included in a program, everyone learns techniques for quick rejuvenation and refocusing, alleviating some of the energy drain from unresolved, or poorly handled, situations. Everyone moves from reacting blindly to conflict and crisis to responding appropriately to it.

The Discovery Model

This tool helps you reframe your actions to move from "needing to be right" to "learning from experiences." This is a very valuable transition, as you are able to shift out of judgmental defensiveness or aggression into awareness and creativity. In an organizational program, this tool will strengthen the ability of the group to work as a team and to bring vitality and creativity into decision-making and conflict situations.

Truly great performance of individuals, teams and organizations requires clarity of purpose and building effective relationships. Tom’s work opens those doors.

David Humphreys, CEO, Hicks Financial Solutions

Communication Skills

We all can learn how to better express ourselves in a way that we do not unintentionally irritate or shut down a listener, even when we are giving accurate information. We use this tool in many of our organizational programs to examine listening skills and non-verbal techniques that facilitate communication. It allows a team or group to examine the "system" that they are operating in and the various challenges of communication between different levels of organizations.  Participants learn skills for turning conflicting, difficult communications into powerful ones. They also receive tips for more effective communications up, down, and across organizational channels, which they can apply to all of their personal interaction.

Conflict Resolution Checklist

This is an effective action plan that enables you to resolve disagreements with another person in a centered, meaningful manner. It is covered in many of our longer programs and in our coaching programs. It helps synthesize and unify the material covered in our programs for application in actual conflict situations. 

When you learn this process, you come away with the ability to resolve one-on-one disputes in a manner that actively strengthens relationships.


Many conflicts involve more than two people. Mapping is a process for resolving more complex conflicts involving multiple parties that supports everyone in shifting from an adversarial stance to a partnering one.  We teach this tool primarily in our two-day or longer programs.

The process of mapping allows all parties to have their interests, beliefs, and feelings acknowledged. The underlying theme is to be hard on the issue and soft on the people. The purpose is to seek understanding of the underlying aspects of the conflict, acknowledge and honor everyone’s needs and fears, and establish a common ground of camaraderie from which to brainstorm creative solutions.

Warrior Spirit

This experiential teaching tool includes an impactful mind/body exercise that enables you to let go of limiting beliefs and operate out of purpose and vision on a daily basis. It supports you in breaking through your stories (legitimate or illegitimate excuses) to operate from a higher place of purpose.

Stress Busters

According to a 2006 report, by The American Institute of Stress, unmanaged stress costs the U.S. $300 billion annually. Stress is a major economic and performance issue for all organizations. Turning stress into vitality is an opportunity for everyone, but it takes understanding, an attitudinal/perspective realignment, and a consistent change in behavior over time. When included in our workshops and coaching programs, this tool creates the capacity for this to occur.


Stress Busters achieves four goals:

  • To provide you with a clear, concise, and applicable framework for understanding what stress is, based on the latest scientific evidence, and how to utilize stress to create greater health and performance.
  • To produce an individualized personal assessment of your mental, physical, and emotional stress generators, reactions, and tendencies.
  • To share specific tools, processes, and practices to support you in managing and controlling each of your stress generators.
  • To establish an on-going support system to assure integration of the practices in your daily life.


Most of us have been around for a lot of years, and we are all highly experienced association executives and meeting planners who often think (or at least give the impression) that we have seen and done it all. Your comments were right on target, your examples and demonstrations complimented and reinforced your message, and your humor and personality were contagious and invigorating. Even those among the ranks who never have anything good to say about anything were singing your praises.

Edward D. Hendricks, CAE, American Society of Association Executives


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