United We Stand, Divided We Fall


There is always dynamic tension within an organisation or any group of people.  There are many influencing factors, both internal and external.  Personality and character affect how individuals and groups identify with and react to contentious issues and opinions.  All this tension challenges leaders to maintain balance and harmony, cohesion and momentum. 

Using war as the most extreme example of conflict, these are some of the words and phrases that could be used to describe the path that leads from hostility to reconciliation.  They are reminders of how disputes have been resolved but also that smaller internal divisions can grow into chasms if they are not addressed.

  • No man’s land
  • Demilitarised zone
  • Neutral ground
  • Bridging the gap
  • Ceasefire
  • Truce
  • I think I know you
  • You think you know me
  • Arbitration and negotiation
  • Truth and reconciliation
  • Brokering peace
  • Peace negotiations
  • Conflict resolution
  • Peace treaty
  • Cooperation and security

Conflict resolution is conceptualised as the methods and processes involved in facilitating the peaceful ending of conflict and retribution. Committed group members attempt to resolve group conflicts by actively communicating information about their conflicting motives or ideologies to the rest of group (e.g., intentions; reasons for holding certain beliefs) and by engaging in collective negotiation. Dimensions of resolution typically parallel the dimensions of conflict in the way the conflict is processed. Cognitive resolution is the way disputants understand and view the conflict, with beliefs, perspectives, understandings and attitudes. Emotional resolution is in the way disputants feel about a conflict, the emotional energy. Behavioural resolution is reflective of how the disputants act; their behaviour. Ultimately a wide range of methods and procedures for addressing conflict exist, including negotiation, mediation, mediation-arbitration, diplomacy, and creative peacebuilding.  Source: Wikipedia

This scenario describes conflict (or competition) between different “armies” and the obvious analogy is with companies fighting battles in the marketplace.  Equally important are the simmering disagreements, resentment and plotting that can occur naturally within groups (for example, in departments, divisions, areas, teams, or market sectors.)  A lack of trust, understanding or appreciation can fester and develop into suspicion, fear and insecurity.  It may sound dramatic, but mutual understanding and empathy can quickly turn into hostility and subterfuge.

Acquiring strength through unity

There is essentially only one indispensable ingredient in the peace process and that is dialogue.  Without discussion there can be no arbitration, no brokering of agreement, no positive resolution and no recognition of a mutually beneficial plan for future progress.  

Performance improvement is rooted in an open and honest assessment of methods and results, an inventory of resources and a collective commitment to change.  None of that can be achieved without dialogue.  Meeting face to face is the best way to find common ground and to share beliefs and concerns.  Empathy only happens when understanding and appreciation is gained of the other side’s situation and point of view.  Eliminating prejudice and dispelling myths help to clear the way towards mutual acceptance and the willingness to co-operate and unite in pursuit of shared values and objectives.

We believe that corporate meetings, conferences, team building activities, hospitality events, incentives and recognition awards programmes all contribute in measurable ways to strengthening bonds and avoiding damaging divisions.  They should be seen as the glue that holds corporate communications together and helps to spread ideas and ambition across organisations.

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