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A helpful resource for creative conflict solutions

Welcome to Our Blog A Helpful Resource For creative conflict solutions

Productive Conflict Publications

Articles Published on Medium and in partnership with Human Systems Dynamics Institute

Uncomfortable: What Bicycling And Conflict Have In Common

“It’s supposed to be uncomfortable,” my coach told me. “That’s how you build resilience. Add a little more tension during each training session,” she continued. As I pant and sweat, I realize my discomfort has a purpose. I am working on getting faster and stronger. Professional cyclists make it look easy, achieving monumental ascents at dizzying paces and leaving many riders in their dust. So often, I wish I could be like the pros. I wish it could feel more effortless for me. But the truth is, it is never effortless, even for the pros. This discomfort is a lot like experiencing conflict....

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How to Make Organizational Conflict Work for You

How do you make organizational conflict work for you? In the 1920s, Mary Parker Follett asked herself this very question. It’s a question we often ask ourselves today. Follett, a management theorist and social philosopher, proposed “integrative behavior” as the answer. This is an idea she compared to playing a violin: apply the bow to the strings and create friction. When it’s played properly, you achieve beautiful music. Simply put, “integrative behavior” means that people can connect their ideas to those of others to create new ideas. This is the creative process of human interaction, and...

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What to say “yes” and what to say “no” to?

If you are like many of us working in fast-paced organizations, you most likely have no shortage of projects needing your attention. When the projects start piling up, you are faced with the difficult question of what to take on and what to put off. But the real challenge in making these decisions is that all these projects appear highly important or at least highly risky to avoid. Fast-paced organizations are fast-paced for one key reason: they are made up of many semi-autonomous agents interacting interdependently, that is, these agents are independent and dependent at the same time. This...

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Are you really setting conditions for diversity in the workplace?

Diversity is everywhere. Yet, in our organizations we sometimes say we want diversity, while we fail to set conditions for it. There are many ways to define diversity in the workplace. For the purposes of this article I chose to draw on a simple and practical definition from Joe Gerstandt: “Diversity means difference, and it is a component of all interactions and relationships.” This way of looking at diversity allows us to appreciate that it is not only something that occurs when people of differing cultures, ethnicities, or religions come together, but something that happens every day with...

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So you want to be a cross-functional team?

Cross-functional teams in Government are nothing new. Over my years working within Government, and as a contractor for Government, I’ve heard them called many things such as “Swat Teams,” “Tiger Teams,” and “Special Project Units” just to name a few. Whatever you call your cross-functional team, they can bring both powerful synergy and destructive conflict to an organization. As you set up your cross-functional team, here are three simple things you can do to bolster its success. 1) Get Beyond the “One Goal” Trap What is holding this cross-functional team together? Well of course the project...

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