August 2013

This is where you are, but… THIS is where you WANT to be…
  • Job stress and burnout are on the rise; absenteeism and turnover are increasing.
  1. Talent retention is on the rise.
  2. Higher and more consistent morale exists.
  3. Stress is reduced and communication is more open among people at all levels.
  • Distrust and suspicion are commonplace.
  1. Free-flowing information and cooperation improve productivity, because people are connected to the company objectives and to one another.
  2. Camaraderie is emphasized.
  • A pervasive “US vs. THEM” culture exists at almost every level of the organization.
  1. Creativity and teamwork are creating excellent cross-functional work teams.
  2. Individuals and departments stop turf battles.
  • Job satisfaction and job performance are declining.
  1. Current conflicts are resolved and productivity and profits are maximized.
  2. Individual and group performance improve, because people learn how to effectively and creatively turn conflicts into profitable opportunities.
  • Employee loyalty is failing.
  1. Inspired employees are able and interested in articulating and clarifying their ideas and positions toward the organizational goals.
  • Productivity and profits are at an all-time low.
  1. Organizational objectives are understood by all and, as a result, decision making is improved.
  2. Increased innovation, stimulated creativity, and forward thinking are the norm.

Benefits of Conflict Resolution

Yes, there are many benefits to conflict. It is often necessary to struggle through normal stages of family business, partnership, department or company growth. The value is in understanding conflict and learn how to harness the elusive powers of this sometimes volatile force. As with most challenges, the key is in catching it quickly so you control it before it goes underground (the grapevine) and cause more problems. Or worse, become part of your company culture. Many owners, leaders, managers and employees cant seem to function without drama and conflict and over time; conflict just becomes a way of life. Unless, something significant is done to turn the tide.

I specialize in helping people learn from and move through conflict to create long-lasting, sustained, “win-win” outcomes for you, your family business, partnership, department and company.

Types of Conflict

In over two decades consulting with family businesses and organizations, I have observed three major types of family business or workplace conflict:

Task Conflict Task conflict arises among members of work teams and affects the goals and tasks they are striving to achieve. Differences in vision, intentions, and quality expectations often lead to task conflict. Family or employee relationships may initially appear to survive task conflict, but an important project may not. It is essential to channel task conflict so that these differences become complementary and improve the way the family or team thinks about accomplishing current and future tasks.

Process Conflict This form of conflict centers around the steps or methods used by a family or work-teams to reach a goal. One person might like to plan 100 steps ahead, while another might like to dive in head first. Process differences can lead to communication breakdown and ultimately result in conflict. Like task conflict, process conflict can be useful if managed correctly. Healthy differences in process often lead to an improved way to achieve goals.

Relationship Conflict Often misunderstood, relationship conflict undermines and tears at the fabric of an organization, department or team’s ability to achieve its goals. Relationship conflict penetrates all aspects of an organization. When people in a workplace environment fail to communicate effectively, teams, departments or even an entire organization will suffer. Relationship conflict will quickly consume all the attention and energy of an organization, leaving little time to accomplish profitable tasks.


What can we do to bring conflict to a reasonable resolution? How might our resolution be beneficial to everyone involved? The ultimate goal of conflict resolution is to increase one’s understanding of what happened, why it happened, and how we can learn from it so we don’t become victims to it in the future. Conflict isn’t bad. In fact, it is a vital part of a successful family business or organization. Knowing when to encourage conflict – in a manageable and productive way; knowing how to spot it early and slow it down if need be; and knowing the natural stages of conflict’s life cycle can all lead to highly productive outcomes. Both this knowledge about conflict and the skills needed to manage it successfully are needed to get the best out of your people.

The benefits of professional conflict resolution are great:

  • Resolves current conflicts and maximizes innovation, productivity and profits
  • Teaches independence and ownership of the skills to effectively and creatively turn future conflicts into profitable opportunities for improved communication and learning
  • Improves organizational decision making
  • Inspires family members and employees who are able and interested in articulating and clarifying their ideas and positions toward the organizational goals
  • Increases innovation, creativity, and forward thinking
  • Improves individual, family business and company performance