Conflict Engagement Systems Design: Will You Choose?

Organizations, just like individuals, have a particular conflict style and support a particular conflict response culture.


Since culture eats strategy for breakfast (thanks Peter Drucker), conflict is an inherent part of the cultural process of continual misalignment at many organizations.

Don’t believe me? Well, organizational misalignment between cultures and products can cause problems for people in organizations who are trying to innovate. It also causes problems for customers who experience a confusing product and poor customer service.

With all of that, one of the easiest ways to break a culture and let it grow is to reach inside the culture to the people who are part of the culture, to develop something new. But, this approach is fraught with difficulty and mixed motives, which are why most change management—and conflict development processes—tend to fail.

One easy way to overcome resistance to change and organizational misalignment is to develop a visual model, because people in organizations are more attuned with what they can visually interpret.

However, getting a person who can facilitate, storyboard, capture the visuals, and circulate the story among the gatekeepers and decision makers who often aren’t in the room, requires bringing in an outside presence; which, can be fraught with difficulty, because if the person—or organization—that you choose doesn’t work out, well, then all that investment gets no return.

Of course, you can always accept the alternative in your organization, where continual misalignments create disputes and the conflict process never gets straightened out or successfully engaged with.

[Thanks to the folks at for moving my thinking on this.]

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT:

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