- Are key individuals in your company mired in protracted conflict?
- Do you need to facilitate dialogue between and among different groups within your organization?
- Is your group falling short of its potential, undermining your overall performance?
- Does your organization need to partner more effectively with another organization to work at an optimal level?
- Do you have the sense that past conflicts, damaged relationships and mistrust are holding your people back?
Our organizational intervention programs can help. We offer three distinct yet complementary services for addressing these issues:
When small or mid-size groups have internal strife it can be devastating to the bottom line. Often leaders don’t know exactly what the problem is, much less how to solve it. We can help you do both.
We will interview your staff, asking probing questions in a confidential setting to uncover problems that may be invisible to senior leadership. By synthesizing the responses in these interviews, we can diagnose the symptoms the organization is experiencing, and collaborate with you in determining an appropriate response. Possible responses include one or more of the following:
- facilitating an offsite session with your team, in which the findings of the interviews can be shared the issues discussed;
- delivering training to some or all of your team members in communication skills, in order to help them discuss issues before they fester and become insurmountable barriers to performance;
- offering 360º executive coaching to one or more leaders or key team members who may be major contributors to the organizational issues
Other responses may be tailored to your specific circumstances.
Read more about how intervention can help your organization.
The supply team of Acme Materials* was in turmoil. Business at Acme was good, and sales were up. The supply team, responsible for ensuring timely delivery of Acme’s products to customers throughout their sales territory, responded to the increased work flow by adding five new hires to the three veteran team members.
One of the new hires had left not long after joining, however, and the others were unhappy. Communication within the team was poor; difficult topics were avoided, left to fester rather than being discussed openly. Several team members were considering leaving. It was clear that they needed the intervention of an outside facilitator to help them turn things around before the team collapsed.
The facilitator began by interviewing each member of the supply team to solicit his or her candid input on what was going wrong. The themes from these interviews were then distilled into a set of findings, which were shared with the group on a one-day offsite team meeting. These findings became the basis for a facilitated discussion of the problems the group was having, and how to address them.
An important insight drawn from the interviews was that the three veterans, who had worked together for years, were a tight-knit group, and they had failed to integrate the new hires. This left the newcomers feeling disempowered and frustrated, and limited in their ability to do their jobs. It also became evident that the roles and responsibilities on the team were unclear, and people often fought “turf battles” over which employee would handle which account.
During the offsite meeting the group was able to discuss these and other topics that had been kept beneath the surface for many months. The facilitator helped them speak honestly to one another about their concerns, and also helped them devise their own solutions. After the meeting not only were many operational concerns addressed, but the lines of communication were dramatically improved, and much of the tension diffused. This led to increased productivity and a better working environment for everyone on the team.
Handling conflict skillfully is a challenge. Our facilitation service is designed to help clients engage in constructive dialogue, even on their most difficult topics.
A facilitator helps the parties communicate more effectively and progress toward making decisions more efficiently. Where a mutually beneficial, “win/win” solution is possible, we can help everyone involved address and move past the emotional resistance and focus on constructive outcomes. If it becomes clear that such a solution is not possible, we will help the parties recognize that their differences cannot be bridged and help them transition to the next phase, whether that means walking away from a possible deal, transferring or terminating an employee who is ineffective, undoing a dysfunctional joint venture, or dissolving a partnership that no longer works.
As facilitators, it is neither our role nor our desire to steer the parties towards a particular outcome. Rather, we will help all the parties reach clarity on what outcomes they can live with, and determine if there is a mutually agreeable outcome to be found.
Using a facilitator can not only preserve a relationship that would otherwise be needlessly destroyed, but also saves time and energy that is wasted while parties languish in endless conflict. The cost of using a facilitator is more than offset by the gains in productivity realized when a conflict is resolved, as well as the savings of money by preventing a conflict from escalating.
Managing Organizational Conflict
Few professionals work in a vacuum, “flying solo.” Most of us operate as part of group – a team, a department, or a company. Success requires not just being effective within our own area or team, but working effectively with people from other parts of the organization.
Navigating organizational structures can be complex. Different teams have different areas of focus and diverging goals. And those goals are often deliberately placed in conflict with one another. For example, a company’s business development team will have very different incentives in place compared with their compliance team, and these differing incentives can easily lead to conflict.
It’s important to be aware of the systemic nature of conflicts, and not to make it personal. Participants in this course will learn to identify the systemic tension in their own particular work context. They will grow to understand the role that systems play in creating conflict, learn methods for recognizing how conflict can be systemic and not personal, and practice techniques to discuss these systemic tensions effectively.
To learn more about systemic tension, read about Donny’s book, I Hear You: Repair Communication Breakdowns, Negotiate Successfully, and Build Consensus…in 3 Simple Steps.