For the past several months, I have been working with my friend and colleague Kevin Eikenberry on a number of projects. As part of my responsibility in working with Kevin, I serve as a coach on the monthly group coaching call for Silver Members of Kevin's Remarkable Leadership Learning System.
While this post doesn't specifically address resolving conflict, the ideas in it relate directly to the much broader topics of leadership and leadership development.
Last week, we had our monthly Group Coaching call, and we discussed Enabling Process Improvement. We had a great, lively, informative call. Here are some of the highlights of the call:
Keep it simple
In keeping with Kevin's description of a “non-denominational” process improvement approach (Plan – Do – Check – Act) during his monthly teleseminar, we discussed the importance of focusing on the basics. Keep it simple, and keep going back to foundational principles so that you can get a “ground-up” approach to process improvement. This approach will make your life as a leader much easier.
Set constraints up front
If you know that certain approaches are “off-the-table” with regard to what is or is not acceptable in the context of your process improvement efforts, tell people up-front. Openly sharing what is not acceptable can help people to focus their efforts on what is.
Question, probe, and investigate early and often. The more you work to surface concerns and frustrations with the current situation, the better you can communicate the need to take action and the better you can define your desired outcomes.
Clearly define the problem
If we define the word problem as a “condition that you want to change,” then we have to agree on the problem statement before we can agree on the solution statement. Working to make the problem definition clear (the current condition that we want to change) will help you reduce resistance to change that might occur as you work to improve the process.
Make it safe to fail
We don't want people to fail in ways that will destroy the company. We do want people to learn and grow in order to get better. Planning for the future. Taking reasonable steps to avoid failure. And then, allowing small failures to happen without negative consequences can create an environment that enables process improvement.