Avoid Conflict Resolution

Avoid conflict resolution? What?

Yup. What the world needs now is more conflict.

I’m not talking war, violence, road rage… those things are the result of not enough early conflict.  What happens with humans is we stop having a real interaction with people the moment we let a conflict sit there undiscussed.  We resolve the conflict rather than having a conversation that leads to understanding.   (and oh my gosh, maybe even seeing that we have spinach in our teeth.)

When we avoid conflict, our brain starts noticing all the ways that person meets our typecast. We then begin collecting stories that match our perception. Sooner or later: Whammo.

We need more conversations and fewer confrontations.  Talk about things sooner.  More conflict.

Most companies spend tons of money teaching their executive team to become skilled at conflict resolution. Be careful. The only true asset of an executive team is information. Information that is as pure as possible. Often the only way to get that information is to see potential conflict that is being hushed. The best skill is to be able to watch people and convince them to provide the conflicting information. The challenge with most conflict resolution and tough question lessons is they are way too controlled and contrived.

The best thing an executive can have is a messy conversation. Conversations are messy. It doesn’t matter how messy the information comes to an executive – it is a gift that leads to better decisions.

The person with the most verbal influence (and likely the same style as the executive) often leads the decision.  We need to start listening to the people who are not talking.   (And to the person who is talking and doesn’t do it in the right way.)

A traditional conflict resolution calms everyone down.  We normalize.  Control.  Avoid.  Pacify.   Use ‘models’ that are transparent and trigger our physiology and reduce our ability to understand. 

Next time someone steps on your foot, just ask them to get off.  Don’t fluff their aura, tell them they have nice shoes – just tell them in the moment rather than typecasting them for 3 months each time their foot gets tenuously near your little pitties.

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