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  • Writer's pictureThrive Inc.

Unaddressed Conflict Will Cost You

Get ready to learn how unaddressed conflict can be costly, both financially and in terms of team dynamics and organizational culture.

In this episode of the Beauty of Conflict, Susan and CrisMarie explore the detrimental effects of unaddressed conflict in organizations. They highlight how conflict, if managed well, can drive growth, innovation, and trust within teams. They also draw from their own experiences and provide real-life examples of how unaddressed conflict can lead to significant financial costs and project failures.

Listen to this episode for a discussion on how unaddressed conflict can be costly and what to do to make sure unaddressed conflict doesn't impact your organization negatively.

If you’d like us to speak at your organization about conflict, stress, team-building, or leadership, work with your team virtually, or coach you or leaders on your team, reach out to us!

If you enjoyed the show, please share the podcast with your family and friends, or post a five-star review on iTunes. Rating and reviewing the show helps spread the word, which means less friction and suffering for everyone, and who doesn’t want that?

Key Take-Aways

  • Why conflict is often avoided, managed, or diffused due to lack of training and poor role models.

  • How unaddressed conflict can create distance and problems within organizations.

  • What the signs of unaddressed conflict include.

  • Examples of organizations where conflicts led to significant financial losses.

  • Tools for addressing conflict in a way that emphasizes vulnerability and curiosity.


Click here to view the transcript.


Hi I'm Cris Marie Campbell and I'm Susan Clark and today we're going to talk to you about how unaddressed conflict costs you literally now nobody likes conflict not even us and we've written 2 books on it and have a podcast of this title and you know what really because most of us were not trained in it. We didn't have good role models. So we learned early on to avoid, manage or diffuse conflict like just to survive it. The problem is unaddressed conflict is costing businesses millions of dollars yet conflict if done. Well if you learn how to hang in, it actually drives growth and innovation and actually builds trust in organizations and teams now. We likely all know what conflict is.  It's when the tension comes up inside you and between you and somebody else when you think you're aligned and all of a sudden. You're not.  So just picture that time when you're there and somebody interrupts you or cuts you off and how you felt in that moment. Not my good now. Ah, there's another situation where maybe you're in that meeting and the same 2 people are arguing again. At each other nobody else is talking. It's going back and forth between them and you're sort of stuck there feeling uncomfortable and discouraged or maybe you are giving your colleagues some feedback, something really important that you think is helpful and all of a sudden they are just like defensive and.


On the attack. So these are 3 examples that maybe you can relate to where your tension comes up and those are examples of conflict and when that does not get addressed it begins to create distance and problems across the organization yeah signs that your organization now you can just like bring your own organization up in your mind these are signs of unaddressed conflict at an organizational level. You have the meeting after the meeting where you share what you really think but you didn't speak up in the meeting or everything is done like 1 on one back channel politics like I'm gonna. Make sure you're on my side Susan so before we go in. We're all aligned. She's done that to me. No, that's her conflict or even that projects fail and then people get blamed but you kind of were like you knew that project was going to fail everybody kind of was watching the train wrecks. But never spoke up I mean let's just give a real example could be something to do with boeing max I'm sure somebody saw that all alask all those I mean somewhere in there people knew some things were not going. Well yeah, so or there's the time wasted working around. Problem people I'm doing air quotes right now and in order to get work done. There's also the more obvious ones like the bottom line direct. Bottom line the cost of turnover how expensive that is legal suits legitious nature in the organization now. The bottom line is unaddressed.


Conflict costs you literally and it's crazy because yeah, well I'll just sit I'll leave but we want to give you some working examples from our experience where we'll give you some figures that we were given based upon this and why we'll start off with where there was a group of engineers. Who were working in a telecommunications company rolling out a new network across the nation and they had designed a layout plan that had failed then they had some consultants come in. They redesigned it failed. They had some more to redesign it and failed we came in and at this. We were kind of like maybe it's not the design. That's the problem and sure enough come to find out there had been a big conflict issue between 2 other vps and everybody in the room knew about it and their teams had issues. But no one was addressing the conflict as a matter of fact, they were trying to work around that conflict. So we started it on a path to you got to deal with this now. They did not resolve it or manage it right away they it was a work in progress but they started it and they knew it was critical to the success of this project in the end. They went back and rolled out the very first design they had and they rolled it out successfully because they had worked and were working on the conflict now that leader told us that the cost of all those other starts and stops was approximately seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars three quarters of three quarters of $1000000


And that's conservative so that's 1 example, another time we came in after well this hospital was implementing a new I t system and I t was you know, commissioned to work with the hospital staff to get the information they need. So the rollout would be successful and and. Fortunately, they did not get the help from the hospital staff because there was conflict there and so I t just trudged forward and they launched the system and it failed and so they had to kind of go back to the drawing board and eventually we came in and they were spending money on ad. Add-ons. We said well why don't we try to see if we can deal with the conflict between the hospital staff and the it organization that was resolved but in the end that delay and all that time was a year delay and $2000000 of additional investment in order to get that rolled out and those were not our fees. Um, I'm just saying and the the last one was ah a tech company a tech startup company. They had a really brilliant engineer who had a new project and design that they had been showcasing and working on and it was kind of like the the secret project that was secret sauce that was coming up. And this person had been working on it for 2 years but no one had been managing that workflow nor the team and 2 years into it come to find out. There was nothing there really to show for it and so they had to stop the project and it ended up that cost them around $10000000.


And ah, they really had nothing to show for it so you can see in a nine month case it was three quarters of $1000000 in a year two year process no 1 year process $2000000 and then 2 year process $10000000 so conflict unaddressed can cost you.


And you know it doesn't have to be that way because training as we said in the beginning training you know starts to help people resolve those conflicts have the courage to speak up and we have partnered with rally to produce a beauty of conflict journey which is a training on conflict that's online and. And we're you're gonna hear more about that but we want to give you just a little taster of something that you can use in the meeting this afternoon that will help you hopefully have a different experience with conflict and this is what we refer to as the ah conflict compass. And it engages you in what we call the 2 magic ingredients vulnerability and curiosity. But first I want to introduce you to what we think of as the critical axis points for you to be successful in conflict one is your me axis what is going on inside of you. Meaning really being self-aware and able to identify what you're thinking feeling and wanting in any given moment because what people don't recognize what I had to recognize is you could change the people I was in conflict with but I was doing the same patterns. Because it was kind of like running on automatic pilot and I kept getting the same results and blaming the other person so that's the simple form. We'll cover that a lot more because it's really critical to be able to navigate that the second axis is the we axis.


Our relationships. How are we communicating? Is it transactional or is it really sort of dealing with the other human being for who they are and are we curious and interested in the difference opened or closed now the way this works is you are ultimately responsible for how you are inside yourself as well. Is how you are with the other person and if you can the compass sort of shows you the we axis which has to do with and the the horizontal side of it and that has to do with how open are you to new ideas because most of the time smart people. Tend to think they're right? That's they're paid for and a lot of times they are right makes it even harder for them to consider another idea but you usually have a lot of smart people sitting around your table so you're all right about something but not everything so the key is to be interested and curious about another person's perspective to be open to that. The other side of that is you're closed and you and you really are not considering that so that's the curiosity axis the horizontal axis now the other axis is the b- axis that Susan started with and that's the vulnerability piece now what blocks curiosity is usually because people are not aware of what's happening inside them and so they're. More hidden even from themselves a lot of times but not speaking up and saying hey I disagree or I have a different idea or ouch did you was that your intention to cut me off and or so that's when you're doing that when you're willing to speak up. That's you being real and when somebody.


Is both real in the vulnerability. They're me Axis and also open and curious that makes you an influencer in the moment and that is a powerful place to be but it takes practice and repetition and this is just one of the tools that we offer in the Journey. And I often take this little compass with me into meetings because I can be kind of a reactive person. So. It's really helpful for me to so have that sitting in front of me and taking a look because I can quickly recognize Oh I'm not open right Now. Oh No I haven't said that I'm actually kind of terrified about something so you can use it in the moment. And hopefully you'll find that helpful and we got a lot more to Cover. So in this journey if you choose to kind of get engaged and offer it to your organization. So Hope you found this interesting reach out if you have questions.


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CrisMarie Campbell and Susan Clarke

Coaches, Business Consultants, Speakers and Authors of The Beauty of Conflict

CrisMarie and Susan work with leaders and teams, couples in business, and professional women.

They help dysfunctional turnaround teams into high-performing, cohesive teams who trust each other, deal with differences directly, and have clarity and alignment on their business strategy, so they create great results.

Download the eBook, How to Talk About Difficult Topics, today!


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