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How to Think About KPIs Before Launching Conflict Resolution Training

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KPIs and Thinking About Conflict Resolution Training

If an organization is moving toward offering conflict resolution as a service to employees, managers, supervisors, or even C-Suite executives, there are certain key performance indicators focused around deliverables to track, measure, and determine the success–or failure–of change management and learning culture development efforts.

Key performance indicators or KPIs are “a measurable value that demonstrates how effectively a company is achieving key business objectives. Organizations use KPIs at multiple levels to evaluate their success at reaching targets.” They intersect with the rise of SaaS applications at work quite well, but many organizations will struggle with defining how they intersect with soft skills they want their teams to acquire, even in a remote setting.

KPIs and Conflict Responses

Understanding where people’s conflict responses are in their psychological, emotional, and mental quadrants and where they position conflict messages in their brains, are critically important to consider as a first metric for the success of training.

Particularly as you develop key performance indicators as you start resolving conflicts in your organization, differently than you have been before.

These quadrants, or boxes, allow people to create mental models of how the world should work. Why is this important to know when planning a conflict management training for your organization?

If you don’t acknowledge, understand, or aren’t even aware of the individuals, the team, and the organizational approaches to conflict issues in the first place, how can you design, launch, and promote training engagements that will “work” to change–or bend–the curve of the work culture you’re dissatisfied with?

If a person prefers an avoidance stance toward conflicts in their professional life, then a person with a more collaborative stance (in the quadrant opposite) will have some problems with the avoider.

If a person prefers to be in control and compete around conflict (as many in the aggressive world of work sometimes do) then the accommodator in the opposite quadrant might have some problems.

Knowing where you, your organization, and even your culture are positioned on this map, is key to setting up effective performance indicators, before training launches. 

KPIs, Positioning, and Mental Maps

The marketing theory of positioning (as expounded by Trout and Reis) says that there is limited “shelf space” in a person’s mind for messages. It further states that, once a message has been anchored onto a shelf, it’s not going to be dislodged by a new message in the same space. Instead, the jujitsu lies in creating a new message in the quadrant opposite the established message.

In relation to conflict management, a key performance indicator of whether or not your conflict training efforts have “worked” or not is: are people communicating messages to each other in the heat of conflict in a different way that reveals messaging anchored in a different position in their minds.

Positioning as an indicator of the success or failure of a training and development effort is a KPI that is so subtle, so hard to actually see, that many managers, supervisors, owners, and others, who aren’t necessarily dialed in to the language, the emotional depth, and the other factors driving conflict, will either miss or dismiss, it.

However, outside of people communicating with each other with courage (which comes with coaching, not necessarily training) people communicating differently, using different words, phrases, and even body positions, and getting different outcomes, it’s the only metric that matters.


If you’d like to know more about establishing practical KPIs to track the success of your organization’s SaaS-based, leadership development efforts, please contact us today!

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