planxty engineering & consulting Services GmbH offers conflict resolution assistance, often called Business Mediation.
Conflicts and Costs of Conflicts
Conflicts are present wherever humans are communicating with each other or where the maintain relationships. In our family environment, in business life, in political discussions and in diplomatic discourses between governments we find conflicts.
Generally, a conflict does not need to be considered negative in the first place. Different opinions often help us to come to new solutions. However, very often conflicts develop in a negative way. Instead of a fruitful discussion, they escalate and end up in a fight.
In our business world, conflicts have a negative impact on the business result. Conflicts within a department, between departments, between managers and employees or even between companies always result in frustration. Valuable time is wasted and energy is spend on the conflict. They simply cost money.
We know many ways to quantify quality, productivity or customer satisfaction. However, we usually do not have ways to measure the amount of money that is wasted on conflicts. We can imagine, however, that even if only a small percentage of the entire productive time of our workforce is wasted by those conflicts, the resulting amount can be tremendous. There are some new tools available now to estimate the costs of conflicts. Active conflict management will reduce these costs.
Conflict Resolution Concepts
In our day-to-day life, we usually have learned to deal with different opinions. We discuss things and usually a small conflict is easily solved. Often, however, a point is reached where listening to the arguments of the other gets more and more difficult. The exchange of arguments intensifies and nobody listens to the needs and interests of the other side any longer. The conflict has escalated into a fight.
If a conflict has reached this level, it is useful to call a conflict resolution expert. Such an expert, also called a mediator, is an independent person who assists the conflicting parties in solving their conflict on their own. The mediator knows ways and techniques to guide the conflict parties through a structured process so that they get the opportunity to reveal their needs and interests to the other party or parties. By looking at those real reasons behind a conflict, the parties often develop completely new ideas on how the conflict can be solved. Win-win-solutions are often found. By solving their conflict themselves in their own responsibility (under the guidance of the mediator) the solution is durable.
Some mediators tell a story to explain how mediation works.
Two sisters fight over an orange. The fight goes on and finally they ask their parents to decide on what to do. The typical reaction of a mother of father would be to cut the orange so that each of the kids has one-half.
A parent knowing about mediation would try to find out, why the girls want to have the orange so desperately. That is what happens in our little story. Well, the little mediation process reveals that one of the sisters wants to make some orange juice from the meat of the orange. The other girl, however, says that she is baking muffins and needs to shave the peel for the recipe. When they hear each other’s needs, both girls themselves develop the solution: one girl can get the entire meat of the orange for the juice while the other one gets the entire peel for her muffins. A typical win-win-situation has been found.
Business Mediation has many applications:
- Day to day conflicts at the workplace (it can be simply the discussion about the open office window)
- Conflicts between companies (for example about the quality of a delivered product or a payment)
- The rationale of a planned restructuring of the company shall be made understood by the staff
- The staff themselves shall be involved in the restructuring process (give them the ownership)
- Misunderstandings between manager and employee shall be resolved (we all have our own stories to tell)
- A new team shall be formed
- The effectivity of the team shall be improved
- A project shall be analyzed in order to improve the performance
- The team jointly performs the risk analysis in order to improve safety
- The development team seeks the help of the "user" in order to improve the design (human factor engineering)
Coaching: The Special Case
Sometimes the conflict is not arising between two or more parties. The conflict is within one self. Decisions have to be made and the inner self is leading a lively discourse about the pros and cons.
Coaching often uses the same techniques and strategies as the mediation process. The only difference: Instead of two or more parties, only one “conflict party” is involved. A trained mediator can assist in solving the inner conflict and help a person to develop a sustainable solution to his problem.
Active conflict resolution strategies save costs. Some companies are already using business mediation as a tool on a regular basis similar to quality control or HSSE. They have recognized the benefits of a system where win-win-solutions are found and people, instead of blocking their brains by brooding over a conflict with their co-worker have a clear mind to think about strategies and solutions for the benefit of their company.
If you like to have more information or if you are interested in a business mediation in your organisation, please get in touch with us.
planxty engineering & consulting Services GmbH
Dr.-Ing. Holger Kinzel, Master of Mediation
31226 Peine / Germany
|Phone:||+49 5171 524-83|
|Fax:||+49 5171 524-97|
|Mobile:||+49 172 54 66 211|
You may also use our contact website.