The top takeaway for the creative CEO when faced with conflict. From culture clash to co-creation of a shared vision and collaborative future
A few years back, Eileen and I were invited to a meeting by the husband of one of our RAPSI Practitioner Graduates. Actively involved in other high-level mediation and conflict resolution, the meeting involved him, a TV company, and a leader from each political party. Secret discussions with sympathetic Irish leaders wanting to end the conflict suggested, if successful, that the TV recording would be broadcast. One representative's life was threatened. George Mitchell, a high-profile US Senator appointed by President Clinton took over.
Working with a large international banking group, taking over a smaller savings and loan group, they had found issues of culture clash and my senior client asked me to facilitate a meeting of the transition team involving executives from both groups. The battle lines had been drawn before I entered and as the meeting progressed it was clear that both sides wanted to stab the Marketing Director who was absent. I stopped the meeting and had them work in pairs from their existing companies and list in glorious detail everything that was wrong with the merger, the transition, and the different ways of working: Driven, strict rule-based, and competitive on one side and family discussion based and collaborative, if slow, on the other. I took the charts with their items and put them up on the wall. Nods all around. I then asked them to take their items and convert them into statements ….How to… How can we… or How can I…. We hung those charts in place of the others. ”Who has an idea to help resolve one of these problem statements?” Hands went up all around the room. Enforcing the no judgment rule, ideas were gathered and small groups of mixed company participants started to flesh out the ideas and produce the next steps. Relationships were formed, and laughter broke out.
So rather than treat the conflict as a fence to be jumped, find a way of hearing and fully honoring the issues and then use a problem-solving process with shared invention techniques, to create a future vision and path. It only needs to be 80% acceptable to all. The rest gets sorted as you move forward.
“ That was the best facilitation I have ever witnessed. Would you be interested in joining my new development group in the Far East as Managing Director?” J.A. Senior Banking Development Director. I had just started dating Dr. Eileen Watkins Seymour DSc HC in the UK, so it was a NO! Now I have colleagues in the Far East/Isle of Man and family in the Pacific Ring!
Are you experiencing a drop in creativity, inner or outer conflict, or above-average stress? If you are seeing, hearing, or feeling a hostile or uncomfortable climate or culture, or conflict in your business or family, or group, private message me here or email me at theQuantumJockey@gmail.com, and let’s talk.