Managing and resolving conflict in business – Part 2

In my earlier blog post, which you can read here, I shared for the leaders reading Neil Denny’s conversational riffs and his tips for creating meaning out of conflict. In this blog I will share one simple tool that he provided to give us MD2MD members another way of looking at, and analysing conflict situations.

This tool uses the simple and legendary 2×2 matrix format, and suggests we consider both our own and the counter party’s actions alongside our own and the counterparty’s perceptions. It looks like this:

He suggests that when faced with a conflict we start by reflecting carefully about what is going on in the red and green circle.

He suggests the cycle continues and we should consider our normal reaction and then how that reaction will be received.

And sometimes it works out a bit like the following example:

Notice the assumptions being made on both sides about what is going on in the mind of the other party.

Which could then continue with another loop of antagonistic exchanged assumptions:

Which could be an expensive mistake, depending of course on whether the assumptions made early on were valid

Whereas it is just possible that if we’d chosen a different option and checked the facts rather than making assumptions the world might actually be quite different.

By responding to the potential conflict with a good question to gain further information we could discover that the situation is rather different to our first guess.

Clearly I’ve taken an extremely unrealistic situation (hopefully) to illustrate the point – That by choosing a course of action that elicits more information we may learn more and be able to find a better way forward.

PS (That is my example not Neil’s, so don’t blame him for it!).

Neil Denny’s book, Conversational Riffs: Creating Meaning Out of Conflict is available here.