compiled by Peter@ Wiz4.biz 4/13
Managers & Owners sometimes have to be like Solomon to help resolve disagreements. The following info will give you some guidance.
A. Prevention. Establish a Strategic Plan to clearly define your Vision & Goals + an Action Plan to accomplish it. Assign responsibility to each task, and review progress periodically. If you’re not meeting milestones, investigate to find out the cause. Take Corrective Action to get back on “track” or set new goals.
B. Initial Response to Disagreement
1) Speak Separately to each person involved. Ask for their version of the conflict. Ask questions to “clarify” and fully understand the situation. Ask if you can bring up their feelings at a joint meeting.
2) Bring People together in a closed room. Let them know, everything is confidential; not to discuss with anyone after meeting. If too emotional, re-schedule to another day.
2a) Rules for Discussion: stay calm, not hostile, no accusations/ blame/ re-hashing old arguments/ manipulation. Only discuss the current problem.
2b) State Objective in discussion: solving original problem, resolve differences, go for understanding, compromise, moving forward, restoring cooperation, harmony.
2c) Rules for Managers: be the Facilitator, not the Judge; remain Neutral to be impartial; maintain your Fairness. Don’t let discussion get too emotional. If so, postpone it !!!
3. Get the Facts out. Have the first person speak without interruption. Have others paraphrase #1 – to satisfy to you – that they understand. If any are uncomfortable with paraphrasing, you do it until they understand. Next do #2, 3 etc the same way. Any questions, clarify. Objective: determine cause.
4. Possible Solutions proposed by persons involved? If needed, modify the solution, so all parties can agree. If they don’t come up with a solution, you propose one and see if you can get agreement as-is or modify, as needed. Ensure it meets the organization’s goals.
5. Focus on the Solution during the discussion. How does the solution meet the needs of the organization & their needs? If any person’s needs are not met, modify solution to do that – unless it conflicts with the organization’s needs.
6. Finalizing Solution. With all the considerations discussed above, you should be at the “best” possible solution – under the circumstances – altho’ some people may have had to compromise. Everyone didn’t get all they wanted, but everyone has come up with the “best” solution that everyone can agree on. Get commitment to abide by decision. Thank them for their patience & cooperation.
C. Conclusion: What are the steps to implement the solution? Who’s responsible of each step? Include “expected completion date” in the Action Plan.
D. Follow-up on Solution. Monitor the progress of solution at periodic intervals (week, month, quarterly, etc – as appropriate) – with involved parties, on small problems – with Mgt Team on big problems that affect most of company. Determine it’s effectiveness in resolving the original issues. Is there anything needs to be done to make it better?
Comments: Have we covered everything we need to in “Dissipating Disagreements” ???