Ombuds and Other Service Modules
Let's face it, conflict is complex. The simpler we can make it to understand, the better. Resologics has spent years boiling down the basics of what teams need to work with conflict; and our result is a “modular system.” Each module represents a service we provide or can make referrals to. They can be customized to meet the unique needs of a team, and can be deployed separately or together. This system makes it easier for all of us to talk the same language, pinpoint what the organization/team needs, set up pilot programs, forecast budgets, and measure progress.
The reason we lead with the Ombuds Service Module is because when you contract with us to be there at the ready as Ombuds, all the other services are included as needed.
We'd like to think that we could focus and use only the proactive modules yet the reality is that even with the best laid plans, there will be circumstances where reactive and even what we call "radioactive" interventions will be needed. Knowing that, and having modules in place before you need them, makes good sense when preparing your team for the best.
An experienced conflict manager is built in as part of your team. That "Ombuds" regularly meets with, and is always on-call for the team. The primary roles of the Ombuds are (1) to work with individuals and teams in an organization to explore and assist them in determining options to help resolve conflicts, problematic issues or concerns, and (2) to bring systemic concerns to the attention of the organization for resolution. Early intervention in team conflict is a critical role of the Ombuds and is why this module sits solidly in the proactive column! All the other service modules automatically come with the Ombuds service. Learn more here...
training / workshops
Each team and each individual on the team has different gaps in knowledge and conflict understanding. The common thread is that learning to work with conflict starts with self awareness and moves to an awareness about others. Our workshops consider a variety of needs from difficult conversations and conflict hooks, to trauma informed workplaces and systems thinking. Learn more here...
Whether it's an operating agreement between founders, or a safe communications agreement within a team, every team has team agreements. On most teams these agreements are unspoken, unwritten and un-negotiated but they are the rules of behavior and binding on team members nonetheless. They are "the way things are done around here." They may not be in the policies and procedures manual but it doesn't take long for new team members to figure out what is rewarded and what is punished. In our experience one of the most important exercises a team can undertake is to create clear, explicit agreements.
Coaching is a guided process where participants move through a process of discovery, objective setting, change implementation, iterating, and learning. In team coaching the team learns to see itself as a single system that is responsible for delivering results. A powerful understanding of both individual and group behaviors becomes clearer, trust is built, communications and results are optimized. This is not therapy, nor is it team building - this is team coaching! Learn more here...
Coaching is a guided process where a participant moves through a process of self-discovery, objective setting, change implementation, iterating, and learning. In individual coaching the coach works 1:1 with the coachee to support learning and specific personal or professional goals by providing training, guidance and insights.
Peer mediation is a process of assisted negotiation where the mediator is a person who resembles the people in conflict by being, for example; of similar age; in the same school; of similar status in a business; etc.... Peer mediators are trained in skills that support them in bringing together and helping parties who cannot reach agreement by themselves. More and more common in schools, this specialized practice works in a variety of settings outside of the classroom too. This practice fits squarely in the proactive column because at its core is training and the normalization of conflict in teams.
measuring / assessing / iterating
What gets measured gets managed! Whoever said that was right. From the early stages of building your conflict plan, right through to monitoring progress and communications within the team, we deploy assessments, surveys, and other measuring tools that help us help you understand what is going on. We highly encourage teams to tie together their work on conflict communications with some important Key Performance Indicator (KPI). Learn more here...
Mediation is a process in which an impartial "mediator" facilitates communication and negotiation and promotes voluntary decision making by the parties to the dispute. Mediation serves various purposes, including providing the opportunity for parties to define and clarify issues, understand different perspectives, identify interests, explore and assess possible solutions, and reach mutually satisfactory agreements. Learn more here...
This is a 1:1 process in which a trained coach helps individuals gain increased competence and confidence to manage and engage in their interpersonal conflicts and disputes. It is a goal oriented and future focused process that concentrates on assisting coachees to reach their specific conflict management objectives. (defined perfectly by Cinnie Noble) Often started in reaction to a specific conflict, this is also perfectly suited to be used proactively.
conciliation / shuttle diplomacy / consultation
Although separated in some circumstances, these three processes/ideas all involve a trusted third-party who provides an informal communicative link between those in conflict for the purposes of identifying the issues, lowering tension and encouraging interaction.
Often times during and after some kind of a negative conflict event, the team, or those working with the team, realize that there is a gap in what members of the team need to know. Depending on the needs of the team, or individuals on the team, off the shelf and/or custom trainings are delivered to increase capacity to work with conflict in the future. Learn more here...
The aim of restorative practices is to develop community and to manage conflict and tensions by repairing harm and building relationships. There are a variety of ways to customize this type of practice within an organization including commonly used "restorative circles" which is lead by a circle facilitator. Restorative practices give people an opportunity to listen and be heard in a safe controlled space.
arbitration (Resologics does not provide this service but can make referrals)
Arbitration is used to break impasses and involves a "third party" (the arbitrator) making a decision for the other parties involved in the dispute. Within an organization, the role of the arbitrator often falls to the leader within the team. Being explicit about how impasses will be broken and who the responsibility will fall to is critical for resolution to be reached quickly and with as little cost to the team as possible.
HR formal processes (Resologics does not provide this service but can make referrals)
The Human Resources department of an organization has as part of its responsibility the receiving of complaints and demands for change for a variety of issues. These are sometimes referred to as grievance processes. The formal nature of bringing an issue to HR means that a promise for some kind of change for the people making the complaint is made. It means that the issue is now officially part of what the organization needs to deal with. Having a plan in place for a number of circumstances is important, especially when it comes to working through conflicts so there is as low an impact as possible on the team and the organization.
legal help (Resologics does not provide this service but can make referrals)
When all of the other modules put in place to end disputes early are not working, people may find themselves looking to the legal system for support. For both the people making the complaint, and those on the receiving end, it will be stressful. Having a game plan in place and on-call before anything happens is important in reducing stress and costs.
This is a process in which a third party or team of third party participants monitor an agreement made between people in a dispute. Those peacekeeper(s) may also engage in activities designed to restore normalcy to the team and organization. Key to this thinking is that any dispute will take some time to recover from and that a plan should be in place anticipating and working with steps forward and steps back in the resolution process. In the easiest form of peacekeeping, the process is integrated by the mediator or coach. In more extreme circumstances an outsider with more power may be incorporated.
police / security (Resologics does not provide this service but can make referrals)
For smaller organizations, outside help in the form of local police may be needed if a dispute rises to the level of violence. For larger organizations, internal security may fill that role. Although unusual to reach this stage in an organizational dispute, having a plan in place is important.