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a MANAGING YOUR BUSINESS Resolving conflicts Unresolved conflict can damage relationships and your business. advice on how to manage conflicts. Karen Adamedes offers some RECOVERING FROM injuries custainod ina car crash in Scotland, Yoko Ono lay on ‘a double bed in the comer of the Abbey Road studio in July 1969 whilst the Beatles recorded wat was to be their last studio falbum. With a microphone suspended above her, she was able to make ‘comments and provide suggestions in reletive comiort es the band worked, Ono recovered but the band did not, with John Lennon leaving the Beatles soon after, (On0' inclusion in the recording session went against what was understood by all band members, that their recording sessions were closed to all but quest musicians. it was @ symptom that things were changing. And one of the many areas of contfict that lel to the break-up of the band and one of the most successiul ‘writing partnershios ever. ‘Some confict in business is heelthy. t can stimulate ideas, creativity and healthy date for problern-sohing. But when you hear people explain their conflicts as “creative diferences' through arited teeth ‘oF pursed lips, then it has, perhaps, gone oo far. Confict Is not healthy when it prevents business trom progressing or damages relationships between the People involved. For your business, Ccontict can be frustrating because it can delay a project, cause rework and even _stop what you are working on from moving ‘head. The impact on relationships within your business can be even worse, It can occur when people are working towards totally different goals or ‘outcomes. This incompalibilty can put them at odds with each other, People may also have @ history of not having worked well together in the past, to the point ‘where their relationship has broken down. Usual this relates fo some past conflict that was not resaived, Tris can make it incredibly diffeult for people to work together on a new venture Simple misunderstandings can also cause confict. For instance, someone may have been inaclvertently lit off an email tral and Unaware of the progress that has been made on an issue. The next meeting they ‘may come in ‘guns blazing’ because they think iis stil unresobedt There are many types of roles you can play when confict ovcurs, and your siyle Needs to adapt to these differing circumstances. You may be the cause of the conflict, or the recipient, or the person with the responsibility to resolve the confit situation, Whatover your roi, ithe dispute can impact your business, it's up to you to sort it out Early action I possible, the best approach isto resolve important issues early. The longer it's unresolved, the bigger a confict gets, even if only in people's minds. The saying about ‘making a mountain cut of a molehil! describes how tle things can be exaggerated. A small misunderstanding left unresolved, can grow out of all Proportion. Here are 10 tips to help you resolve confict in your business: ‘Prepare — make sure you know your facts before you intervene * Identity the key issues involved ‘Develop some potential alternatives to resolve the situation ‘InvoWe others in the decision-making process ‘+ Have the conversations you need to have discreetly, one-on-one. This removes the potential to embarrass ‘someone in front of other people ‘ Approach issues from the other person's perspective. They no doubt have mary reasons why they believe they are right ‘*Ask questions to convey your appreciation of their postion. For example, "I understand you have ‘experience with these issues, Can you tell ime how you approached this previously?" Acknowledge past successes, experience, expertise and skis, This, allows you to recognise the past, accept the other person's contribution, then deal with the issue at hand; and ‘Don't put aff the tough conversations, They oniy get harder the longer you leave them, Last but not least, don’t take it personaly. Conflict is part ofthe process of ‘negotiation and problem-solving in business. When it's over, dust yoursetf off, get on with business and get on with i Resolving confit in your business is part ‘of the gig, and well worth itt you can avoid breaking up the band, @ ‘© Karon Acamedes 2010 aren adamedes is @ business exective and author of Hot Ties for Careor chicks, \ Dee PUSS] ; ATTRACTING BUSINESS INVESTORS SN 1443-7805 fi i J =e tH i PS eS CCG ont Pai air Lei fast growing coffee supply empire