Instant ExpertAlison Stein Wellner
Dissension is a fact of business life--disagreements between co-workers, clashes with clients, misunderstandings with suppliers. Conflict resolution aims for a middle ground, where all parties feel they have come out ahead.
Case In Point
Jorian Clarke, president of SpectraCom Inc., a Milwaukee-based Internet marketing and research firm, gave employees training in conflict resolution. They used the techniques to calmly show a client how her indecision was hurting their ability to complete a project. They also learned to prevent cultural tensions with international clients. For example, by honoring Germans' need for small talk before getting down to work, her team set the stage for a smooth project relationship.
Book: Getting to Yes--Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In, Second Edition (Penguin, 1991), by Robert Fisher, William Ury, and Bruce Patton. An oldie but goodie. Clear and complete blueprint for principled negotiations that stresses objectivity in handling conflict and encourages innovation and imagination in problem solving.
Free counseling: The Center for Negotiation and Conflict Resolution at Rutgers University (732 932-2487) offers brief phone consultations for free.
Web sites: American Arbitration Assn., www.adr.org. Check out their Guide to Mediation and Arbitration for Business People. Unlike other highly theoretical sites, this one is full of hands-on information and pragmatic advice. For print copies, call 1-800-778-7879.
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