Conflict Management: Making Agreements Stick

By December 4, 2018Conflict Management

Conflict resolution does not end with the identification of a solution. An agreed-upon solution is useless if there isn’t buy-in from employees and a plan for implementation.  After working hard to reach agreement, it can be frustrating that an agreement fails to yield tangible results. Our experience in resolving family conflicts has taught us to expect issues when it comes to turning agreement into action. Here are five ways to handle implementation issues:

Anticipate Obstacles

Even if all parties have endorsed the agreement, there may be something still nagging at them. They may feel some option hasn’t been fully discussed or some concern hasn’t been adequately addressed. Try to draw these concerns out. Now is a good time to ask, “Is there anything else?” Be ready to hear that there is, and prepare to address it if necessary.

Put It In Writing

Document the agreement. This could take the form of a legal contract, a memo, a plan or just a few notes. But no matter how minor or informal the matter may seem, keep in mind that, as the saying goes, “the palest ink is better than the best memory.” Ensuring that all parties to the agreement can readily and convincingly be reminded of what they agreed to will cut through many implementation obstacles.

Have A Timeline

Specify arrangements for transfer of any funds that are to be distributed, supplying dates for transactions to be completed. Also schedule transfers of authority, new job titles, work assignments, office quarters, etc. This will help stop any attempts to avoid implementation by use of delaying tactics.

Prepare For Unknown Issues

You can’t always solve tomorrow’s problems today, but you can prepare to deal flexibly with whatever arises. Do this by discussing and describing a process for handling future questions or conflicts about the resolution. Start by asking: What would you like to see happen if new problems come up?

Have A Ceremony

Some kind of event symbolizing the laying aside of past conflicts and the embracing of a new cooperative future can go a long way toward getting people to stop looking backward and focus their attention forward. Consider a physical activity such as a hug, handshake or coming together for a group meal.

After the stress and tension of negotiating followed by the release of reaching agreement, it can feel awkward to try to look forward and anticipate future problems of implementation. Consider consulting a neutral adviser when crafting a plan to implement your resolution. REGENERATION has trained consultants with experience in conflict resolution who can assist you in not just negotiating a solution, but also making it stick.

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