A Ten Step Process for Discussing and Resolving Issues in Systems

This edition of Mentor Online is adapted from the PREPARE/ENRICH program.

Every system has times when there are differences and disagreements. But healthy systems find ways to resolve differences or disputes without turning them into warfare. Individuals who accept and appreciate the fact that others in the system have the right to opinions tend to reach successful and satisfying resolutions.

When there are issues that are ongoing, use this following approach to deal with them. The exercise may boost your success in ending issues that resist resolution.

When an issue emerges (erupts!) again and again individuals are prone to either flee or fight to the death. Many such times of turbulence are really not about the particular matter that pops up. The emotional component is really about something else and the topic or issue of the moment simply carries the flow of the tension among those engaged in the troubling moment.

As simple as this exercise looks, remember it is not a game. Take time to work on all of the steps. Focus on one issue at a time and you will discover new solutions to old problems.

1. Set a time and place for discussion.
2. Define the problem or issue of disagreement.
3. How do you each participant or constituents contribute to the problem?
4. List past attempts to resolve the issue that were not successful.
5. Brainstorm. List all possible solutions.
6. Discuss and evaluate these possible solutions.
7. Agree on one solution to try.
8. Agree on how each individual will work toward this solution.
9. Set up another meeting. Discuss your progress.
10. Reward each other as you each contribute toward the solution.

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