Gravity Still Works: Disagreement Resolution

Just because it isn’t new doesn’t mean it won’t be the best answer to a problem.  Gravity is an old concept, one that is generally accepted as constant and undeniable.  How to resolve disagreement falls into the same category, undeniable.  When solutions are dictated, disagreement remains.  When solutions come in the form of compromise, disagreement remains.  When solutions are accepted simply as a means to move forward, disagreement remains.  So, what is the solution?

True, effective, productive disagreement resolution comes in the form of gathering involved parties, committing to resolving the issue in a productive manner.  Once the commitment is made, the issue is discussed, the most productive and effective solution is accepted and people move forward.  This commitment to resolving the issue is the basis for disintegrating the issue.

Is it really that easy?  Sure!  Let’s put it in context…

Steve and John have had a rather loud discussion while in the weekly staff meeting regarding how to solve a problem requiring immediate attention.  Steve and John don’t have a history of trouble and this is an isolated incident.  In a culture where the principles of i5 leadership have been established another team member would simply step in, realizing this affects more than just Steve and John.  The 3rd member would remind Steve and John of their previous commitment to the best answer.  Both men would advocate their solutions, in a reasonable tone of voice, without finger pointing.  Once each had expressed their solution, provided supporting evidence regarding the validity of that reason, and a time frame for completion an ideal decision can be reached.  Because the culture supports these discussions, individuals would be able to hear each other, process the information, and make the right decisions.  Furthermore, the men would accept this decision as what is best for the primary goal of the organization and progress would continue.

Had Steve and John worked in an environment without this underlying commitment, it could easily become a shouting match resulting in a deep divide between these two men.  Odds are they would return to their departments, tumble into 3rd Party Critique, discussing this with their team members, and create a bias within their teams making it difficult for the teams to make progress in the future.

Commitment and discussions may not seem like a new way of solving problems, but that doesn’t mean it won’t work.  The latest, greatest trends are worth exploration, but sometimes the tried and true are all you need.  Gravity, it’s not new, but it still works!

Steve and John Are Yelling Again: Conflict Resolution in the Workplace

Imagine you are walking down the hall at work and you hear two voices in the conference room. Steve is telling John that he will NOT do “that.” It won’t work and he refuses to do it.

“You will do it!”


The door opens and slams, Steve storms down the hall.

We know Steve isn’t happy about the work, we know John wants it done and it must be important.  These two have a history of standoffs. They yell, but the work gets done.

How could this be productive.  How?  When we are witness or party to such exchanges we can’t see that his is ever beneficial.  Well, THIS particular behavior isn’t, but what can be learned is beneficial.  If each would commit to working together, John would ask Steve why it won’t work.  This would give Steve the opportunity to explain that the current building regulations specify how this is installed and that they won’t pass inspection doing it John’s way.

Instead, Steve storms down the hall calculating a way to get the inspections done before and then after the install so that they don’t hit a delay.  Also, Steve knows an innovative method to approach the installation of the chiller that is cheaper, faster and less dangerous. Steve saw it done earlier in the year on another project but can’t tell John about it before the blow up begins.

Disagreement doesn’t have to mean there is a winner and a loser. Often it means that together you can find a better answer than either of you had individually. Talking about issues and exploring the options without a power struggle or anger is the key to Productive Disagreement.

Try asking questions and letting the situation play out with an open mind. See what you learn and what changes come from this new mindset.  Having trouble seeing that this is possible, call us.  We can help!  Conflict Resolution in the workplace doesn’t have to be hard.