Happy New Year and welcome to the inaugural edition of our newsletter. Every month we will feature a lead article, information about alternative dispute resolution, conflict resolution events in the community and other helpful resources for mediators and professionals interested in consensus building processes.
In order to better serve our readers we have designed a survey so that this newsletter is of the highest value. See the link below. We look forward to hearing your response.
The beginning of a new year is a good time to look at what systems you have in place in your organization for handling conflict when it occurs. This is a field called dispute system design which combines principals of organizational development and conflict resolution.
You might say, “We don’t have any conflict.” While that is certainly possible, conflict is a naturally occurring phenomenon and occurs in most healthy systems. Conflict is defined as an incompatibility in interests, needs or goals. The productive resolution of conflict produces change and growth that help people and organizations move ahead.
Spend some time reviewing the activities of your organization over 2010. Were there teamwork or personnel related issues? How did they get resolved? How much of your energy was consumed with those problems? What was the result? These are just a few of the many questions that you could ask your executive team. We have a quick organizational conflict assessment tool. Email us for a copy.
Conflict is best resolved early in its cycle. It is a best practice for conflict to be resolved at the lowest possible level in an organization. Are your team leaders empowered to resolve conflicts? Do they have the appropriate skills to do that?
The culture of an organization is evidenced in many ways. What is the culture of your organization vis a vis disputes and conflict? Is there an atmosphere where employees are encouraged to discuss issues and conflicts? Do managers have an open door policy?
One of the ways organizational culture is evidenced is in its documents. The beginning of the year is a good time to review standard contracts and handbooks. Is there dispute resolution language in those documents? Does that language reflect the culture and values of your organization? If a dispute arises with your top client or customer do you really want a win/lose situation which an arbitration only clause produces? Email us for a free copy of our organizational conflict assessment.
Ellen F. Kandell is a certified professional mediator and attorney with over 30 years of public and private sector experience. She provides mediation, group facilitation and training to diverse, national clients. Get in touch with her via email, LinkedIn, Twitter, or give her a call at 301-588-5390.