Interest-Based Problem-Solving is at the heart of High Performance through Engagement (HPtE #13)

It is estimated that employees spend 42% of their time engaging in or attempting to resolve conflict and 20% of Managers time is consumed with conflict related issues.

Masters and Albright (2002), in The Complete Guide to Conflict Resolution in the Workplace, point out that people thrive on conflict in most areas of their lives–football games, political debates, legal disputes–yet steer clear from workplace conflicts. But conflict is actually a healthy way to challenge the existing order and essential to change in a workplace.

The real problem is not conflict per se, but managing conflict.

Dana (2001), in Conflict Resolution: Mediation Tools for Everyday Work Life, argues  that workplaces are changing. As interpersonal rules of conduct become looser and time deadlines become tighter, conflict resolution is gaining importance as a strategic management issue.  

Organisations that recognise the necessity of strategically managing internal conflict will be one step ahead in increasingly competitive business environments.

Cloke and Goldsmith (2011), in Resolving Conflicts at Work: Ten Strategies for Everyone on the Job, reveal how the inevitable disputes and divisions in the workplace are actually opportunities for greater creativity, productivity, enhanced morale, and personal growth.

Clearly, confronting and managing organisational conflicts presents a major challenge to organisations that wish to successfully compete in today’s global economy.

In order to reduce the competition and conflict over allocation of time and money some form of decision making process capable of finding solutions that can meet the interests of Shareholders (Commercial Responsibility), Operations and CI (Consumer Value) and Workers (a safe, secure and satisfying Culture), is required.

Interest-Based Problem-Solving meets that need.

But, what is Interest-Based Problem Solving?

Interest-Based Problem-Solving is an outcome of the Harvard Negotiation Project, a group that deals with all levels of negotiation and conflict resolution, and was captured by Fisher, Ury and Patton (1981) in their book Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In.

Getting to Yes offers a proven, step-by-step strategy for coming to mutually acceptable agreements in every sort of conflict. The four key principles of Interest-Based Problem-Solving are:

  1. Separate the people from the problem.
  2. Focus on interests, not positions.
  3. Generate a variety of possibilities before deciding what to do.
  4. Insist that the result be based on some objective standard. 

By embedding these problem solving principles into the decision making processes within any organisation the conflict between the 3C’s is not only reduced but harnessed for greater creativity, productivity, enhanced morale, and personal growth.

This is a key to unlocking sustainable high performance in any organisation.

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Want to learn more about Interest Based Problem Solving? Ask us about our HPtE Improvement Team Training or HPtE Improvement Team Problem Solving workshops. Contact Karl via direct message on LinkedIn.

22 serious problems when people compete for time and money (HPtE #9)

Everyone is competing for time and money! (Read: Houston, we have a problem!)

Most of you will have witnessed the conflict caused by people competing for time and money. There will be varying degrees of conflict depending on the mission or philosophy, structure, systems, job design and leadership in the organisation.

The conflict shows itself through peoples thinking and behaviour which will vary from one organisation to another, one department to another and will even vary between different teams. 

Often, during the exploration phase of an HPtE Strategy®, I will meet with Employees and their representatives (Unions) separately from the Management Team to get their perspectives. The following list of symptoms are consistent across many organisations.

This picture is from an actual workshop with Employees and their Representatives.
This picture is from an actual workshop with Managers from the same company.

Such a work environment is painful, expensive and inefficient!  It is also not conducive to quality service or innovation and it is definitely not sustainable. A workplace with any one of these issues is missing out on potential performance.

Do you suffer from any of these?:

  • Dis-engaged workforce
  • Nine to Fivers
  • Stifled creativity
  • Poor goodwill
  • Conflict (between departments, functions, individuals etc)
  • Strike threats
  • Grievances
  • Staff turn over
  • Pessimism
  • No-man’s land (usually during bargaining)
  • Blame
  • Breakdown’s in trust
  • Dictatorship
  • Our way or the highway
  • Ignored protocols
  • Short term focus
  • Increased expense
  • In-efficiency
  • Labour shortage (often described as “talent shortage”)
  • Work to rule
  • Stagnation
  • Buying loyalty

All of these behaviours can be grouped into either “aggressive defensive” or “passive defensive”. People are either trying to force change or resist change. Some of these behaviours are both passive and aggressive.

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Up next in the #HPtE series: A serious workplace problem – “Conflict” (HPtE #10)

Want to learn how to remove all that pain, expense and inefficiency? Ask us about our Discover HPtE Strategy® Video Conference – a one-hour introduction to the HPtE Strategy® Framework. Contact Karl via direct message on LinkedIn.