CWB is dedicated to turning adversaries into partners seeking common good. It offers customized programs aimed at resolving conflicts in a way that looks after the best interest of all stakeholders. Some of the services offered by CWB to public and private sectors include, but are not limited to, the following:
7 CS© Compass of Conflict Resolution and Mediation
At the workplace, as with life in general, each human interaction carries the potential for conflict. Many complexities of human behavior including conflict can be found on display in the workplace as a microcosm of human relationships. Whether it is a family dispute, employee-employer conflict, union-management disagreement or business partnership quarrel, if not resolved in a timely way, it can take a heavy toll on the workers, leaders and even on the entire organization.
The 7Cs approach is a compact but comprehensive way to resolve almost any dispute, or at the very least arrive at the best possible resolution, in a non-confrontational manner with a fraction of the cost, time, effort and energy used in an adversarial approach.
We know from experience that our peers, bosses, subordinates, clients and other stakeholders can sometimes place reasonable and on other times idiosyncratic demands on us. We have to make constant choices in responding to these demands. These choices determine whether we get joy, meaning and satisfaction or stress, anxiety and frustration out of the workplace.
In order to deal with conflict, we need first to understand the nature of conflict. While there is no universally accepted definition of conflict, it can generally be described as an adversarial expression of opposing interests. The competitive corporate world adds its own unique trials and tribulations to the already stressful impact of conflict.
An interesting element of conflict is when we are competing with ourselves and end up being our own worst adversary, standing in our own way. The 7Cs approach can also be helpful in minimizing the negative impact of internal conflicts by following those segments which do not have or require the involvement of anyone else in addressing the situation.
Despite the negative connotation, conflict can be a very positive force for injecting some friction and traction in the workplace. The challenge of conflict can actually give us opportunity to transform an apparently negative situation into a positive learning experience.
We can’t elude conflict in the workplace. Given that it is unavoidable, we have to ask, “Is there anything we can do about it?” The answer is a resounding “Yes”. There is a lot in our control for which we don’t need anyone’s permission or approval. We can, and we must, at the very least do our part beginning with making choices that are right for us and for the organization.
We can deal with conflict in a way so the resolution process is not experienced as entirely negative but can actually heal the workplace instead of further wounding it. The 7Cs formula gives us a methodology appreciably different from other processes such as litigation, investigation, mediation or for that matter use of force and violence. The 7Cs approach is designed as a compass to help us navigate through the voyage of stormy relationships of the corporate world. It provides an overarching blueprint which, if followed properly, can guarantee the best outcome under the given circumstances. Most importantly the correct application of this approach can minimize the destructive impact of workplace conflict on the individual and the organization. All, or some, of the 7Cs can be applied to almost any difficult situation we face in the workplace. What’s needed is to understand how the components of each of the following Cs are applicable to a specific situation at work:
1. Conciliation: The first step in addressing any problem is to conciliate with the fact that it exists. Conciliation differs from explaining the issue to someone or simply articulating your viewpoint. The act of accepting what IS is the most crucial stage of a process that can lead to successful resolution of most conflicts. We cannot bury our head in the sand and deny the existence of the problem. A problem will never be truly resolved unless we accept it as a problem. It is only once we have conciliated with the reality of the problem that we can begin to do something about it.
2. Commitment: No matter in what capacity we are involved in a conflict, as a victim, alleged perpetrator, manager, policy maker or as top leader, we must ask ourselves if we are fully committed to resolving the issue we are facing. We must be clear in our own minds that we are really prepared to do all it takes to confront and deal with the problem. We must be fully honest with ourselves about our own motives. It is not uncommon to find that when a conflict is brought to the attention of mangers or decision makers, the stated contentions are generally very different from the true motives of the initiator. We have to know whether we are seeking a resolution or playing games with others and with ourselves. We should be committed to the quest for the best alternative to safeguard our interests under the given circumstances. This also makes allowance that our adversary may feel the same way about his or her interests.
3. Compassion: This is a key component and may even permeate some other steps by preventing the situation from escalating to a point where we have to treat it as a conflict to begin with. We need to deal with all relationships with a sense of compassion in line with the golden rule of never imposing on others what we would not choose for ourselves. The supposed adversaries can actually be our partners assisting us to find a resolution. We must ask ourselves what would we do if we were in their shoes; would we have found our suggested solution as fair? Compassion always produces fair and win-win resolutions.
4. Communication: The magic of words, spoken, written or silently communicated contains the key to opening the mysterious locks of conflicts. We must learn to listen and accept silence as a pronounced part of communication. Our listening skills can make or break the chances of a successful conflict resolution. Reiterating what we heard to the satisfaction of the speaker and reversing the process can remove most misunderstandings. We have to watch body language and be mindful of the signals we are sending. It is quite possible to say one thing and send an opposite message.
5. Concentration: Peripheral issues or shifting priorities of the workplace can easily distract us from concentrating upon the issue at hand. These distractions simply add to the complexity of the situation and each layer of complexity can end up consuming more precious resources, efforts, energy and money needed to resolve the issue at hand. Once we make sure that both sides are on the same page about the nature of the problem, we need to concentrate like a laser beam on seeking the solution. If peripheral issues arise, acknowledge and park them for the time being and come back to them after dealing with the core problem.
6. Compromise: This does not mean compromising your core beliefs or values. However, in a fair resolution no one ever gets one hundred percent. We need to aim at the best alternative which can be mutually beneficial rather than trying to get all and ending up getting nothing or something highly dissatisfactory. We need to pause and consider that the other side just might be right. Remember we can always disagree without being disagreeable.
7. Culmination: Once we begin the 7 Cs process to address a conflict, we should keep at it until a resolution is reached or the process culminates because the parties may determine that it is an un-resolvable conflict, which in itself is a resolution. We must then put the dispute behind us and move on with our lives. New complications always intrude if the process is interrupted. Once we arrive at a decision or an agreement we must bring the matter to a complete closure for those segments for which a resolution has been reached and not rehash the same issues over and over again.
In conclusion we have to remember that workplace conflict is only one element in our potentially rich lives. We have to look at all of life’s challenges in a holistic manner. The impact of workplace conflicts does not confine itself to a nine-to-five schedule or within the four walls of the office. It influences, sometime even shapes, our home, personal and social life. It is up to us to ensure that no conflict should be allowed to scar us for ever. In this one short time on earth, the avoidable aggravation is just not worth it. Our life is too precious for us to be overwhelmed by bitterness, anger or frustration in the workplace. All workplace relationships should instead be a source of joy, enrichment of the quality of life and fulfillment of our being.
Diversity and Sensitivity Training Workshop
The presentation on Diversity and Sensitivity is aimed at inspiring the audience to want to be leaders in promoting diversity in their workplace setting. The full-day session includes active engagement by participants in case studies and scenarios. The session will promote understanding of differences and similarities between workplace colleagues and teach techniques to recognize different strengths of individuals that can contribute towards creation of a model work environment.
The program will create awareness among managers on how to translate diversity talk into walk and platitudes into policy and practice. The course will help managers and staff to understand how the practice of diversity and development of sensitivity is in their own best interest and how practical implementation of lessons learned in the session can enhance productivity and positive workplace environment.
The course is intended to broaden audience’s understanding of bias and power imbalance in the workplace and develop respect for differences. The session is intended to be comprehensive and interactive. The main objective is to ensure that at the conclusion of their participation in the session the leaders, managers, supervisors, employees and other stakeholders should have a better understanding and appreciation of diversity and sensitivity and feel convinced that their commitment to inclusiveness and diversity is in their own best interest.
- An Introduction to Diversity and Sensitivity.
- Many faces of diversity: Generational Gap; Cultural Difference, Race, Gender, Ability, Experience, Background, Talent, Skills and Unique Strengths.
- Definition of Diversity and Sensitivity.
- The Journey from where we were to where we are and where we are headed.
- How can resistance to diversity be countered and how can managers and their staff be motivated to welcome it as an asset for their workplace?
- How to enhance competencies of Managers to harness diversity in the workplace and use it to promote a model work environment.
- How embracing Diversity can lead to enhanced productivity, attracting best talents and to better employees’ morale.
- Attributes of diversity and inclusiveness such as respect, dignity and fairness.
- Challenges that managers are likely to face in implementing and promoting the Diversity Strategy in their workplace and a road-map of how to overcome them.
- Roles and Responsibilities of different stakeholders and expectations by and from managers in implementation of Diversity Strategy.
- What resources managers can rely upon when they need assistance in promoting diversity in their jurisdiction?
- Learn to speak the Language of Diversity so we are all on the same page and no one is excluded.
Workplace Harassment and Discrimination Prevention Training
This intensely interactive half day course will provide practical tools to leaders, policy makers, managers and staff to prevent negative and unhealthy work environment to begin with. Through examples and case studies it will enhance awareness and skills of employees and managers in dealing with the situations if harassment and discrimination does occur in the workplace.
Participants will learn how to recognize discrimination and harassment and how to be role models in creation of a positive and harassment and discrimination free work environment.
Audience will have opportunity to share their experiences with discrimination, biases and harassment and provide input through facilitated interaction.
Tough Love Reviews of Workplace Policies, Practices, and Programs
CWB takes the approach of telling the clients what they need to hear rather than what they want to hear about the state of their workplace and meeting the organizational goals.
Our team has conducted a large number of reviews in the areas of Human Rights, Anti-Racism and Anti-Sexism; Accessibility; Workplace Harassment and Discrimination, and Diversity and Organizational Effectiveness.
Some of these clients included Metropolitan Toronto, Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carlton, Sault Ste. Marie, Thunder Bay, Kitchener/Waterloo, Goodwill and the Canadian National Institute for the Blind.
These reviews focused on some of the following features:
- Needs Assessment
- Workplace Environmental Scan
- Clarity of Terms of Reference
- Determining and communicating expectations
- Documentation and existing data research
- Personal Interviews with stakeholders and
- Focus Groups Evaluation of how far the policies and practices met the organizational needs
- Assessment of the effectiveness of practices in place
- Formulating recommendations for policy and program improvement
- Gap Analysis