Make the most out of conflict
Unresolved conflict can paralyse cooperation within projects, departments and between business partners as well as poison the atmosphere in the workplace. This is especially true if conflict continues to rumble on in the background or for long periods. If it is allowed to escalate, the resultant confrontation can lead to considerable damage. The same also applies to conflict that flares up between candidates jostling for senior management positions – but there is another way! Those who succeed in putting conflict to constructive use often benefit from unexpected opportunities for positive change.
Conflict in the world of business is often linked to corporate goals, strategy and distribution. Even though these are overarching issues, it is vital that the human factor – and in particular differences in terms of employees’ perceptions, interests, (unspoken) expectations, desires and needs – is not underestimated.
Our conflict management services not only pave the way for constructive resolutions and agreements, but also guarantee a professional process and maximum acceptance among all participants. Once a conflict has been resolved participants feel better, their motivation returns and they work together more efficiently. The resultant increase in their performance levels makes an important contribution to corporate success.
Here are some of the most common scenarios in which conflict management is required:
- Employees within a department or partners within a project team exhibit varying degrees of commitment, leading to frequent friction and even open hostility.
- Project success is in jeopardy due to increasing conflict and tension within the project team.
- A project is stagnating, in the balance or even set for termination. Participants shun open confrontation in favour of intrigue and blocking strategies. Meetings are hard going at best, no-one has anything left in the tank (but enough to bicker with one another) and there is a general lack of motivation to discuss the root causes.
- A personal vendetta is costing you a lot of money and may ultimately threaten the survival of your company.
- There is disagreement regarding the best candidate for a senior management position or issues of inheritance.
Such instances of conflict are generally accompanied by a set of complex circumstances and causes. The first step is therefore to analyse the conflict scenario carefully and comprehensively. It is only once this has occurred that we can select a suitable process design:
- Chaired conflict and mediation within organisations
- Commercial mediation between partners or companies
- Conflict consulting and conflict coaching
- Implementation of conflict management systems as a means of conflict prevention
Selected conflicts we have successfully mediated:
- Team conflict at an international telecommunications company
- Team conflict at a company in the media sector
- Confrontation within project teams in the publishing sector
- A legal dispute between two firms of architects which had previously worked in partnership
- Conflict between two brochure distribution companies
- Team conflict within the central administration department and individual faculties at a university
- Conflict between managers and employees
- Clarification of the brief for a conflict resolution project initiated by an international human rights organisation in Israel and Palestine (conflict mediation and intercultural communication, including exploratory talks with prominent representatives of all relevant parties and aid agencies)
What our customers say
"The team is back on track – and so is the project" ...
“The team is back on track – and so is the project. When something isn’t working we now discuss and resolve it straight away. We are very happy with the outcome.” Head of Department at a telecommunications firm
"So relieved that the conflict was resolved on good terms" ...
“I just wanted to let you know how relieved I am that the conflict was resolved on such good terms. It enabled us to get straight back to a relaxed, smooth, effective working relationship.” Freelancer in the publishing sector
"Work is enjoyable once again" ...
I’m sure you’ll remember that we used my relationship with a difficult, uncooperative colleague as one of our conflict management case studies. Well, the conflict might not be resolved – her behaviour continues to make that impossible…
But your tips and encouragement have been a massive help and motivated me to take an active approach. I’ve already implemented a number of changes and am now able to cope well with the situation without losing my cool. I’m no longer bothered by it all, and work is enjoyable once again.” Secretary at a public authority