Destructive Conflict Prevention


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Destructive Conflict Prevention

  1. 1. Preventing Destructive Conflict Southern Methodist University Executive Discussion D. B. Skillern 16 December, 2007 1 Preventing Destructive Conflict HDDR 6319 2/25/2010
  2. 2. We understand the nature of conflict and recognize spiraling destructive conflict should be prevented • We all want effective relationships, but we have limited time to achieve them, so… – Our time should not be spent on cleaning up train wrecks – Our time should be spent to preventing the disasters • We should use the proven tools and techniques to lay the track and turn the switches in the process • If we avoid conflicts – others will: 1) avoid all potential conflicting topics with us or 2) escalate the problem to balance your avoidance – either choice sets in a motion a destructive system. • We must recognize that conflict prevention involves staying on track long enough to make a difference, rather than choosing to turn to another lane to avoid the conflict. 2/25/2010 Preventing Destructive Conflict 2
  3. 3. The key concepts require us to understand ourselves, listen to others and take action to manage our conflicts • Understand and apply our core values to support constructive and peaceful conflict resolution; you core values reflect what is truly important to you: – What’s your greatest challenge to these values? • Recognize your conflict history with a TRIP down memory lane – What happens in your conflicts? – What’s your communication style/behavior? – Recognize your habits – when do you escalate? – What’s the trigger event, word or action? • Consider the system in which you are engaged and create new rules – What’s the communications protocol? – What problem solving model should be used? • Focus on personal evolution – Three elements of change possible: 1) the other person, 2) the situation or 3) you. – You can most easily control your actions and reactions 2/25/2010 Preventing Destructive Conflict 3
  4. 4. Learn from yourself - how and when you engage in conflict Core values underlie your ability to have constructive and peaceful conflict resolution…. There are many perspectives on values, determine what’s right for you and apply vigorously.. – Spiritual: i.e. , the Ten Commandments; the Four Noble Truths, etc. – Dogma/Doctrine: i.e., Cannon Law; SBC Position Statements, etc. – Philosophical: i.e., Aristotle on Justice – A just person is lawful and fair; – New Age: Karma – the bad and the good must be in balance – Business, the Fifth Discipline – Peter Senge, … and so on. 2/25/2010 Preventing Destructive Conflict 4
  5. 5. Follow the map to discern your position in a conflict We’ve all seen many maps of conflict processes, the Comb’s four stage model is a 10,000 foot view.. Change/Disruption New Solutions/Stability – Stage 1 – Conflict Appears: something changes or creates a disruption – Stage 2 - Hope Disappears: chaos and conflict intensify – Stage 3 – Creativity Emerges: some change is made or adaption occurs Chaos/Intensity Evolution/Adaption – Stage 4 – Stability Reached: acceptance and/or new solutions 2/25/2010 Preventing Destructive Conflict 5
  6. 6. Another tool for uncovering desired behaviours Critical Incident Technique Definition: a set of procedures for systematically identifying behaviours that contribute to success or failure of individuals or organisations in specific situations. Example structure: – We'd like you to think of what was happening when you were (carrying out activity X). – What lead up to the situation? – Did you do anything that was especially effective or ineffective? What was the outcome or result of this action? – Why was this action effective or what more effective action might have been expected? 2/25/2010 Preventing Destructive Conflict 6
  7. 7. Spend some quality time with your numero uno Spend some time in personal reflection and introspection – •What is your typical pattern of communications? • How do you de-escalate or escalate conflicts? • What can you change? 2/25/2010 Preventing Destructive Conflict 7
  8. 8. Rules of the road • Don’t drink and drive the conversation – never talk about important thinking when you have been imbibing with your favorite beverage • If the language becomes sarcastic and angry, you are not at a safe stopping distance – back-off • Show some humility and slow down/soften your tone • Stop the spinning – and matching increasing speed of the conflict spiral – you can stay connected and let your state of calm prevail • Take a few practice runs to get the rules down 2/25/2010 Preventing Destructive Conflict 8
  9. 9. Look at the system and set some rules of the game At the office…. • Follow the game plan– don’t just drop a loose ball for someone to react • Provide tough coaching one on one – don’t be a Parcells • Be specific and direct – don’t say ran the play poorly – say you didn’t wait for your blockers to open a hole in the line • Be respectful and show kindness – don’t say you #@$%ing idiot! • Use some humor – e.g., “you have to keep your helmet on to understand the difference between pain and injury” • Offer to solve the problem – I’ll be here on Saturday to catch passes for you • Thank the person for the talk – thank you for your time – now get back to work 2/25/2010 Preventing Destructive Conflict 9
  10. 10. Preventing destructive avoidance is making the other person more comfortable to talk • Put them at ease – talking slowly and softly – don’t corner them in the car, the bathroom, and so on • Provide some safety – ground rules and time to think • Change method of communications – if emails are being used, make a call or visit them • Frame the conversation as relationship building – don’t say “we need to talk” 2/25/2010 Preventing Destructive Conflict 10
  11. 11. It’s all about you – personal change for conflict prevention • As stated earlier – there are three possible changes: 1) the other person, 2) the situation, or 3) you. • Focus on the RI in TRIP – these an the intensifiers: – Relationship – who are we to each other? – Identity – who am I – to you and me? • Work on your repertoire – make some changes to how you interact with others and how you react to adversity • Be authentic and genuine • Seek collaboration 2/25/2010 Preventing Destructive Conflict 11
  12. 12. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate • Get the facts and maybe some advise • Initiate the conversation • Take action quickly, don’t let it simmer to a boil • Be calm, cooperative and informal – listen! • Be fair and respectful • Maintain privacy of the conversation 2/25/2010 Preventing Destructive Conflict 12
  13. 13. Be a peacemaker If not you – who will? 2/25/2010 Preventing Destructive Conflict 13