Conflict Resolution

"White hat & Red hat thinking combined"
  • Discussion, argument & consensus
  • Just give the facts in a neutral & objective manner
  • Do emotions cloud thinking, or are they part of it
  • This is what I feel about this meeting
conflict resolution

Think of a controversial issue to analyse. On a separate sheet of paper, answer these questions.

Groups involved
Who are the groups involved?
Who do they represent?
How are they organized?
What is their power base?
Are the groups capable of working together?
What are the historical relationships among the groups?

How did the conflict arise?
How are the main and secondary issues described?
Can negative issues be reframed positively?
Are the issues negotiable?
Have positions been taken and, if so, are there common interests?
What information is available and what other information is needed?
What values or interests are challenged?

Possible strategies
Would consensus serve all interests?
Are there external constraints or other influences that must be accommodated?
What are the past experiences (if any) of the groups working together?
What is the timeline for a decision?
What would a positive resolution look like?

These are the sort of questions we ask. We use curiosity and energy to understand & work with conflict. Edward De Bono & his Six Thinking HatsŪ provides a great tool for this. (You may have noticed them somewhere on our site!) He takes a lateral approach to understanding & working with conflict and differentiates three concepts & approaches. He regards conflict as the existence of differences between people which he describes as "clash". He uses the term confliction to describe the process of getting involved in or encouraging conflict. He goes on to describe the process of dealing with the factors upon which the conflict is based. He calls this de-confliction, which means the overall use of energy to 'evaporate' the conflict, as opposed to specific approaches like negotiation & arbitration.

De Bono attacks the tradition of argument as an inadequate & dangerous mode. He is concerned about the degree to which people become increasingly entrenched in their own position & (also increasingly) lose the capacity to see the other person's point of view. In De Bono's terms this is a waste of energy. He proposes instead that energy should be used to explore the situation & the range of options. The implications of this approach are that people rise above the content of the conflict in order to gain a broader (i.e. better informed) perspective from which to reach more productive outcomes.

Using a variety of techniques such as NLP, Transactional Analysis & De Bono, together with our experience, curiosity to understand & energy for positive outcomes, we offer & mediation & resolution service for organisational conflict situations. We would be pleased to listen in the first instance so e-mail or call for a free initial discussion.