Conflict is an almost universal experience in collaborative work. In fact, devoid of conflict, collaborative groups may not be leveraging the diversity that is at the heart of collaboration. And yet our relationship to conflict is based upon early and challenging experiences that lead us to avoid or minimize conflict, miss opportunities for exploration and growth, and lose the promise of collaboration to deep fractures in our groups. Change Matrix has developed deep expertise in conflict engagement over the last 20 years.
The following examples or conflict intervention work represent some of the ways in which we change our relationship to conflict, repair our fractured groups and look for innovative ways to move forward together.
Collaboration LAB: Repair. This is a conflict engagement intervention for groups experiencing complex and debilitating conflict. The core components of this intervention are 1) a conversation with the key contact to determine who should be involved initially; 2) one on one interviews with all individuals involved; 3) a thematic report that is non-attributive prepared to offer an overview of the interviews from which an agenda is created for an on site meeting; 4) one or more onsite meeting(s) that may include conversations with the whole group or smaller groups; and 5) follow up work as needed.
Mediation in child welfare training, and program development. Alternatives to court are critical to engage families and youth meaningfully in decision-making in child welfare. Mediation has been show to provide an appropriate and supported environment for more complex conversations about the harm, services and supports, and goals and outcomes for families in the child welfare system. Change Matrix partners have worked with courts to create programs, train stakeholders and train mediators.
Exploring our relationship to conflict: Training and Coaching. Individuals in collaborative groups and leaders come to conflict with a way of being that is often rooted in past challenges with conflict with parents, schools, law enforcement and peers. Training and coaching around conflict is an opportunity to identify some of those root factors that shape our approach, identify who we choose to be in conflict, increase our skills and application to engage conflict and hold ourselves in alignment with those choices in our work.
Restorative Justice. Conflict can and often does involve harm to individuals and communities. Restorative justice practices offer en environment and an opportunity to understand and acknowledge the harm, unpack that which led to the harm, and define a process by which relationships can be restored. Change Matrix offers program development and support to systems as they incorporate restorative justice practices and principles into their culture and approach.