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Team Problem Solving and Conflict Resolution Maggie McHugh-Parrish Southern Polytechnic State University

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Presentation on theme: "Team Problem Solving and Conflict Resolution Maggie McHugh-Parrish Southern Polytechnic State University"— Presentation transcript:

1 Team Problem Solving and Conflict Resolution Maggie McHugh-Parrish Southern Polytechnic State University

2 THUMB WRESTLING Goal: to score as many points as you can 1. Choose a partner. 2. You score one point each time your partner’s thumb is press down.


4 TERMS: Position - What you decided you want in a particular situation; a specific solution. Interests - What caused you to decide; the specific need in a situation which caused you to take a particular position or select a specific solution. Problem-Solving Models - Communication patterns for transitions in principled negotiations that result in generating options.

5 The Conflict Resolution process generally has three components: Discussion about the PAST Discussion in the PRESENT Discussion about the FUTURE How do we experience this in the work team? What happened??? How are we feeling/dealing with it now? What is our plan to fix it?

6 GOAL of the problem solving model: to create a shift from YOU vs. ME to YOU & ME against the problem (like Thumb Wrestling!) HOW??? Utilize the (“HOW TO”) problem statement

7 Maggie’s Vacation Dilemma Mexico Key West

8 Mexico Key West Maggie’s Position Mexico Nancy’s Position Key West

9 Mexico Key West MaggiePosition MexicoInterests Near water Social/dancing Inexpensive Ability to meet others I NancyPosition Key WestInterests Near water Quiet, low stress Good restaurants Comfortable Interests

10 How To, or, Problem Statement: How to have a quiet, low stress, comfortable vacation at low cost with access to water, socializing, good eats and dancing. SO, where did we go???

11 11 Once you have a “How To” statement... Goal: Utilize this tool to help team members move from their original (individual) positions to a new position (acceptable to all team members). This begins as team members identify solutions that meet the “requirements” of the How To statement. *FROM Neil Katz & John Lawyer, 1985

12 So, how to start writing the How To? You need to identify interests. One method of doing this is referred to as: “chunking”* *FROM Neil Katz & John Lawyer, 1985

13 13 “CHUNKING” is a questioning method to identify interests after you’ve heard initial positions. Chunk UP... to interests... by asking questions like: “What would having that do for you?” “What is that good for?” “In what ways is that helpful?” “How is that useful?” USE THESE INTERESTS TO CONSTRUCT THE “HOW TO” STATEMENT! Then,

14 14 “CHUNKING” Chunk DOWN... to potential - new - shared position(s)... by asking questions like: “What is a good way of doing that?” “How could that need be satisfied?” “What specifically...?” “What are other ways of (meeting the need)?”

15 15 “CHUNKING” first: Chunk Up... to interests Broadens the views of the team members WRITE THE HOW TO then: Chunk Down... to new position Narrows the views of the team members UP DOWN interests positions

16 finally: The team evaluates the potential, new shared positions by evaluating the ability of each solution to satisfy the requirements of the How To statement.

17 A review of this problem-solving model... 1. Listen to initial positions. 2. Use Chunking Up questions to identify interests. 3. Write a How To statement (with the team). 4. Use Chunking Down questions to identify potential new positions (solutions). 5. The team reviews each solution, evaluating them against the requirements of the How To statement. 6. The team selects the new, shared, position/solution, and makes an action plan if necessary.

18 The KATZ & LAWYER Dilemma POSITIONS: Neil: “My name must be listed first! This research could not have been completed if I hadn’t joined the team, I’m up for tenure, AND my name will help sell textbooks.” John:” My name must be listed first! The book was my idea, my contacts in the publishing business got us this contract AND I have high name recognition in the public sector.” WHAT ARE THEIR INTERESTS??? (what do they need?)

19 19 The “How To” Statement The Katz and Lawyer Dilemma How to... give both Katz and Lawyer authorship recognition for their book that will benefit their careers and recognize their individual significant contributions to the project. (Now, how did they resolve this?)

20 20 What are some examples of conflicts that occur in the work team where this model can be applied?

21 21 Your team is charged with implementing an e-commerce web site for the company. Although the web site is live, the “go live” date for a major build supporting e-commerce is set for one week from today. The company has a $20M national media advertising campaign, already in progress, advertising the “go live” date. Architecture is firm (3-tier, MS Internet Information Server, SQL Server -database, Visual Basic and Java-Script, all running on NT; front end Active Server Pages, middle is Component Object Model objects, data layer is the SQL Server.) Load testing at 500 page requests/second was successful (slowest transaction ran at 5-7 seconds.) The team’s been working 15-20 hours days for the past three weeks, but it’s almost over. Today your project team is meeting the with management team to review 36 outstanding issues, all in progress. A new (2 weeks w/company) Director of Merchandising is part of the management team. He raises a new issue: the company should rethink it’s web site to incorporate the ‘character’ used in the TV and print ads…the radio ads are a cult favorite everywhere they’re run, and TV ads premier tonight.

22 22 But, when the web site was developed, the character did not exist. And, some of your team members think that the elegant design of the site doesn’t fit with the “cartoony” character. There is some discussion, and it’s clear that the members of the work team are not in agreement with the request; there seems to be a clear division between the web designers/developers and the marketing/business folks on the project team. The CEO speaks for the management team, and instructs the work team to meet to consider the issue, and to bring an issue resolution recommendation to him by 5pm. ISSUE: The company now has a successful “spokesperson” character who is visible and popular with the public. Should the Project Team redesign the web site to incorporate this character in time for the go-live date?

23 23 POSITIONS: Designers: The go-live date is in one-week; we are already working max hours, and there are 36 other critical issues that need resolution; in addition, the current design of the site is traditional and elegant (like our product), and is not a good fit for the ad character. Marketing/Business: The character in the ads is a cult favorite; people have called radio stations requesting that the ads be played; customers identify the character with the company, and he’s “become” the company; customers will expect to see him prominently active on the web site. Changing the web site, even at this late date, will enhance sales. You will be assigned to represent either the design or marketing/business group. Step 1, Identify the interests of the group you DO NOT represent.

24 24 Step 2, Verify that the interests you identified are accurate. Step 3, Use the knowledge of all interests to develop a “how to” statement. Step 4, Use the “how to” statement as a basis for generating ideas. Step 5, Evaluate the ideas. Step 6, Select the recommendation(s) the team will send to the CEO.

25 25 Based on real circumstances at (Waltham, MA), Nov. 1999 (out of business, January 2001) Cartoon character: The Giver See a sample of the television ad at: /

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