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Chronicles from a Caribbean Cubicle

4/19/2005

Un-confronts

Scott (my partner in crime) just came up with an additional insight -- that un-confronts are a precursor to issues.

More on this later...

OK, it's now later. A company I was talking with seems to have an executive team that is riddled with un-confronts.

Their corporate culture is a very polite and civil one, which is another way of saying that they don't go out of their way to cause confrontation with each other. That's another way of saying that they do whatever they can to not create a fuss, or an upset, and do their best to avoid getting involved in any way in anything that might "get out of hand."

The result is like a married couple in which the husband and wife have learned not to talk about the things that might be upsetting. The short-term result is that there is no conflict.

The long term result is disastrous (this I know from first-hand experience! LOL) Important issues go unaddressed, which just means that they go underground as little seeds only to emerge later as scary, evil plants that consume the life around them. Yikes.

Anyway, these un-confronts have filled up the space between people on this executive team. This can be appreciated as more of an image, or a mental picture held only in the mind's eye. Not a literal picture.... but something that is seen only from the right side of the brain.

Looking to fix certain problems in the organization takes seeing the situation with the right side of the brain, or in other words looking for and seeing the space between people in the company. Certainly, changing something like company culture or engaging in activities like team-building can be facilitated by seeing the space of the company.

One of the things to see is the space created by un-confronts.

Un-confronts don't lend themselves much to left-brained techniques like adding up the number of them, putting them in priority order, assigning them a time slot in your schedule for resolution, etc. One can always do these things.... but they don't make much of a difference.

Instead, we must look at the entire space, and tune into it's "vibe" so to speak and act accordingly. In the case of this executive team, there are huge significant issues ... yet. But there are un-confronts, which, as Scott says, are just the precursor to real issues.

I've been working with these executives to convert the un-confronts into opportunities -- which is what good consulting is all about. Sometimes I facilitate a conversation, and at other times I consult with managers and coach them in how to be effective in conducting successful confrontations.

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