Reaching Enduring Agreements
Helping You Manage Conflict And Negotiate Agreements

June 2009 - Creative Conflict

Most organizations now have some kind of mission statement. If thoughtfully created, these statements can help organizations achieve their goals and create a powerful culture. Consider including creative conflict management as a part ofyour organization's mission.

Supporting Creative Conflict

Harvard Researchers identified five tactics that helped teams manage conflict to drive creativity and productivity. Using these tactics teams were able to separate the person from the problem, disagree over strategy significance, and still get along with one another. The tactics were:

  1. They worked with more information and debated on the
    facts - don't leave decisions to be made by gut instinct.
  2. They developed multiple alternative solutions to raise the level
    of debate-get brainstorming!
  3. They injected humor into decision - making - king protects us from stress.
  4. They maintained a balance of power - ensure all team members have the same
    influence.
  5. They used a fallback instead of a true consensus - your fallback could be if consensus
    cannot be reached within a previously agreed upon time the most senior leader will
    make the decision based on the needs of all parties.

Can conflict be a good thing?

Research demonstrates that organizations with constructive conflicts are more creative, productive and innovative - qualities every organization needs in today's competitive environment. For example, researchers at Harvard found that executives with high tech companies who engaged in productive disputes generated more innovation and productivity than those with low levels of conflict.

When you're in the middle of a conflict, how do you know if it's a good fight or a bad fight? Creative conflicts - the "good fights" - share several overarching characteristics: they honor the value of conflict; they are open, not masked; they concern ideas, not personalities; and they involve the skillful expression and management of emotion.

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Michelle Phaneuf, P.Eng C.Med
Conflict Management Consultant
Alberta Co-Director Workplace Fairness
Mediator Negotiator Facilitator

Calgary, Alberta
Phone: 403.243.0147
Email: michelle@rea-agreements.com
Calgary Conflict Resolution