Who is Stewart Levine?
Stewart Levine was an attorney who discovered early on in his practice that he was much better at getting the opposing sides to collaborate and agree on a settlement than having him fight and hold a position until he “won”. This led him to re-evaluate his career path. He went on to become a marketing consultant at AT&T where he saw that “the reason collaborations fall apart is that people do not spend the time at the beginning of new working relationships to create clarity about what they want to accomplish together, and how they will get there”. This eventually led him to document his observations and theories on conflict resolution.
He originally wrote “Getting to Resolution: Turning Conflict into Collaboration” in 1998 (the 2nd edition came out in 2009). When “Getting to Resolution” came out it was named one of the Top 30 Business Books of the year. Stewart’s models for problem solving, collaboration and conflict resolution are used in many Fortune 100 Organizations and have been endorsed by countless thought leaders including the House Judiciary Committee; 3M; American Express; Chevron; Con-Agra; EDS; General Motors; Harvard Law School; Oracle; Safeco; University of San Francisco; U.S. Departments of Agriculture; Navy and many others.
Why is it so important to be able to resolve conflict efficiently?
Conflict presents itself in all of our lives at some time. Sometimes with think we need to fight it out, other times we wish we had a solution for the problem. Models of conflict resolution are so needed. It’s also more than likely that you have experienced a conflict in your workplace at some time in history.
CPP, Inc. (the people that brought us the Meyers-Briggs personality Assessment) commissioned a study in conjunction with OPP, Ltd. to shed light on the nature of workplace conflict. It was conducted over nine countries, surveying over 5,000 employees. They looked specifically at any workplace disagreement which disrupted the employee’s workflow.
Some of their findings are that:
- Almost 25% pf people surveyed stated that they took time off of work through unplanned sick leave in order to avoid a conflict in the workplace.
- There are estimates that companies lose approximately $700 per employee per year due to conflict avoidant behavior (either through sick time off or lack of productivity).
- 85% of employees experience conflict in the workplace at some time in their career.
- U.S. employees spend 2.8 hours per week dealing with conflict, equating to approximately $359 billion in paid hours in 2008.
The study found, and confirmed their hypothesis, that ineffectively managed conflict is costing businesses millions of dollars per year. Yet, on the flip side, they found that if harnessed correctly, the conflict can “stimulate progress in ways harmony often cannot”.