Management Information

The Seven Cs: Partnership Danger Signs - Conflict Becoming the Norm - Part 2

A series of articles exploring the seven critical areas that can indicate a partnership is in trouble.

Conflict Becoming the Norm - Part 2

In a previous article, I wrote about how unresolved conflict can create havoc in your business and can often end in a failed partnership. Today, I share with you a story about a pair of clients I recently worked with.

Sue and Vicki were partners in a service organization that thrived on new membership and putting on events. Sue and Vicki had been coaching with me for over a year and had learned well how to keep things running smoothly running between them. Now they were stuck on an issue that they weren't able to resolve on their own. They knew enough not to escalate it before their next coaching session.

Vicki had decided that one of Sue's responsibilities had more appeal and status than some of her own. Sue enjoyed the task and was loathe to relinquish it. In our session when Vicki pressed, and because they had developed deep caring for each other, Sue was ready to say a reluctant yes.

Before allowing that to be the unsatisfying resolution, I asked Sue to explain what the task meant to her. She said that everything she did prior to that task was build up towards it and that completing the task was closure to a job well done.

Vicki had never looked at it that way. To her it appeared as an isolated task. It was a revelation and she had a different understanding, backing off of her request.

Sue looked relieved.

However, I wanted Vicki to feel satisfied as well, so I asked if any part of her responsibilities gave her that same feeling of fulfillment. She pondered for a few minutes and was able to affirm that a lot of what she did was that meaningful to her and she preferred to continue doing what she was doing.

What happened here? Conflict was averted early even before it became a festering resentment.

And Sue and Vicki got a bonus -- they each achieved an appreciation and understanding not only of the other partner but of themselves and the work they did. Their self knowledge increased and their partnership bond deepened even more.

Here is an example of another conflict with a different resolution. The Home and Garden TV Show "Designing for the Sexes" is a brilliant example of resolving conflicts for a win-win with very little compromise. A designer goes in when a couple has two opposing views on how they want one of their rooms to look.

A recent episode was about a husband who did the cooking and wanted his kitchen to look like a restaurant, industrial and stainless steel throughout. His wife wanted a traditional old world look. You couldn't be farther apart than that.

I always appreciate how the couples (probably coached) never argue for their point of view, but always in a reasonable matter of fact voice state what they want or what they like or don't about a suggested item.

The outcome is always a beautiful room with very little compromise. What I have observed is the designer is able to incorporate each person's wants within other options that they hadn't even thought about.

In this episode, sleek wood panels on the cabinets and refrigerator, stainless steel appliances, granite counter with tiles used as accents created a look that thrilled and pleased both people.

Lesson to be learned: your way is not the only way. If you open your mind and keep your emotions in check you could discover many other and perhaps even more pleasing ideas than the one you think you must have.

About The Author

Dorene Lehavi, Ph.D. is principal of Next Level Business and Professional Coaching. She coaches Professionals and Business Partners and teaches teleclasses on techniques to break through barriers to the next level. Dr. Lehavi offers a complimentary coaching session so you can experience how coaching can work for you. Contact Dr. Lehavi at or on the web at Http:// Subscribe to Mastering Your Next Level monthly e-newsletter at

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