Conflict resolution is not scalable, because trust is not scalable.

Make no mistake though, the products of trust are scalable. And the results of trusting an organization, a brand, or even another person are scalable.

But trust is not scalable.

And the reason that it’s not is neurologically and psychologically complicated, but basically, trust wanes the further removed my relationship is from another person. Not a brand, an organization, or a system, but a person.

Conflict resolution in organizations, thus becomes unscalable, because the trust at the core of resolving conflicts doesn’t exist in the first place, because the parties involved are far too separated by the barriers of organization, values, culture, mindsets, behaviors, beliefs, etc.

This is the reason mediation works so well for neighborhood disputes, but not so well for sexual harassment lawsuits. When conflict resolution processes become a strategy, rather than part of overall organizational culture, they fail miserably. Mediation, conflict resolution, and other forms of ADR should be at the core of a culture’s development as an organization grows so that the products of trust—increased revenue and productivity to mention just a couple—become expected.

And so that, when disputes arise—and they will—the trust is already there and litigation (and even more untrustworthy, unscalable process) becomes unthinkable.

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