Contact Info
Contact Info
Hesseling HR Services

Head Office:
6481 Tsolum River Road,
Courtenay B.C. Canada
V9J 1P1

Telephone: 1 250 650 5004

Fax: 001.250.337.5808


Linked In Profile

Conflict Resolution


In my professional career I met many conflicts, earlier as a marriage counselor, later as a business consultant within different organizations, putting the Harvard Model for negotiating and my counseling experience into practice here is one of the cases I was allowed to help solve.


A Real Case Story
Not so long ago I was called by an organization to help resolve a conflict.  They explained that there was a conflict going on between two departments and that it was expanding to other areas.  They did not know what to do about it and asked if I could help out.  It was an organization in electrical wiring and cooling installations with about 200 employees.  I had trained some of their staff before in self management, communication and leadership skills.


 We called for a meeting with 16 of the key players in the ongoing conflict. Most of them were project leaders. The moment I stepped into the room I could feel the tension and a competition going on. All of the attendants were men. Some of attendants stating unfriendly things such as: “We make all the money and you guys only waste it.” and other nasty remarks.


Something had to be done and so I decided to give them an assignment. Two hours later the conflict was over.


This is what I did.
I explained the situation to them and affirmed that we would solve this conflict today because it is too costly in many ways, on a company level and on a personal level too. I told them that they are all hardworking men who deserve a better working climate. I gave them the following assignment: I want you to write down the answers to three questions.

  1. What do you like about your company?
  2. What do you think your department does well?
  3. What do you think is your personal contribution to your department?

The moment they started writing down the answers, the atmosphere started changing, it mellowed a little. We were moving in different direction, out of the combat zone. Then I showed them a sign on a piece of paper, showing a big 3 and explained to them, that it can be seen from at least 4 different points of view. Some would see an E, others a W or an M or even a B.
Who then is right? I do not know! But if I can only see my point of view and am not able to see that other people might see something different, I can not call myself a professional!


I would be a poor communicator and not really a contribution to my organization, because I could only produce, what I would call “specialist” behavior, and we all know what a pain these so called specialists can cause, by expressing only their own sacred point of view.


Then I stated that people in their function (most of them were project leaders) should be able to communicate some kind of understanding to their conversation partner, even if they had a different point of view. Then I gave them another assignment to practice this.
I wanted them to interview somebody else in this room and listen carefully, not expressing their own point of view, but professionally communicating understanding that they understood the answers given on the previous three questions and give a summary (recap) on the answers, to show their understanding.
I saw to it that I made teams of the most opposing participants. They reluctantly agreed when I made them team up with each other. In the beginning of the interview they sat as far as possible away from each other.
I watched the time and saw to it, that they kept to the assignment. After they did the recap, they were allowed to change roles, so the other person would be interviewed.
This exercise took about 20 minutes, the atmosphere in the room changed, it became less grim and the tone of the voices softened up.
Then I had a last assignment for them.
I explained, when you meet a person in general, even when it is very briefly, you have positive and sometimes negative impressions, all of them we mostly don’t share with this person.
Today, I want you to share one thing you noticed about the other person you just interviewed in a positive way and see to it that he receives your positive message.


After two hours we closed the intense meeting and the conflict had evaporated and did not return again.