Sustainable conflict resolution starts in the head
Conflict competence – “isn’t there something from Ratiopharm?”
I’m always surprised when interested customers get in touch with the question: “We’re having massive problems with conflicts in our company right now – can you offer us a one-day workshop?”. For one thing – if conflict competence could be ” gained” in a one-day workshop, why didn’t you book it earlier, all the current hassle could have been saved?!
If I could actually guarantee the “One-Day-Conflict-Wonder” – why doesn’t everyone storm my office?
As you can see, my experience as a trainer and consultant has proven to me that sustainable conflict resolution and conflict competence do not simply exist by prescription. There is more to conflict resolution than simply applying a method – the right mindset is a decisive factor!
Conflict isn’t just when things go bang
If we look at conflicts and their development stages according to the model of Friedrich Glasl, there are 3 phases (with 3 stages each) which escalate from “win-win”, via “win-lose” to “lose-lose”. Unfortunately, conflicts are often only seen and referred to as such when the threshold to “win-lose” is almost reached or even already exceeded. The impact and cost of this on conflict resolution, the “interpersonal climate,” and productivity have been addressed in depth in studies by Gallup, KMPG, and others. For the U.S. alone, Gallup (2013) has estimated a loss of $350 billion per year. That’s where definitions by Ken Blanchard – “A problem only exists if there is a difference between what is actually happening and what you desire to be happening.” – and
a new dimension. Conflicts are our constant companion, and unresolved not only a problem when they become visible as an open dispute. Conflict competence and conflict resolution cannot start early enough.
Conflict competence begins with head and heart
The best conflict resolution method falls short if it is not accompanied by the necessary mindset. How good is a compromise where I meet in the middle between 2 positions compared to the result of a joint struggle for “the best of 2 worlds”? How sustainable is the renunciation of one’s own solution – just for “the sake of peace”? What commitment can I still expect when I have pushed through my idea against the resistance of others?
To solve conflicts sustainably requires the willingness to struggle with each other for the best solution – or to put it differently: to argue with each other at eye level! The basis for such “togetherness” is a mindset of appreciation, trust and confidence – anchored in head and heart.