“Well, that was easy.”
Actually, no it wasn’t.
And the expectation that it should be, raises more problems than it solves for many organizations, institutions, and even individuals.
If the resolution to the expectation of how the conflict should proceed, results in an outcome that seemed “easy,” that outcome—and the process to get to that outcome—should be reexamined.
Expectations around finishing—or resolving—a conflict, a pain point, or a problem, are often characterized as needing to be “easy” in order to be sold to the skeptical party on the other side of the negotiation table. But the expectation that resolution shouldn’t require anything of one party (and everything of another party) is a childish assumption that many adults act on in very sophisticated ways.
- The expectation of an “easy” resolution to conflict leads to poor organizational storytelling around a conflict narrative (particularly in a customer service complaint context) as well as poor organizational dealings with employees who may (or may not) be “pulling their weight.”
- The expectation of an “easy” resolution to conflict leads to policies, procedures and laws that lack common sense, hide devilish details in meaningless language and public pronouncements by organizations that should be trustworthy, but ultimately come off as satirical and farcical.
- The expectation of an “easy” resolution to conflict leads to disappointments, which deepens dysfunctionality, creates a cycle of more conflict (not less) and allows individuals to hide behind fear, avoidance of accountability and accommodation of unethical behaviors.
The marketing of the “easy” button was genius from a marketing perspective. However, tangled geopolitics, organizational ethics problems and individual ennui are not resolved with a button.
The expectation of difficulty in resolving both simple and complex conflicts—coupled with the courage to do the difficult thing anyway—leads to long-term resolutions, deeper engagement and real, genuine relationships.
“Well, that was difficult. But it was worth it.”
-Peace Be With You All-
Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: firstname.lastname@example.org