Tending Roots: Conflict Resolution to Embrace Change

Mission + Strategy Consulting began a strategic planning engagement that very quickly became partnering with our client through an unplanned executive transition. That transition exposed long-standing rifts between and among board and staff preventing the organization from seeking a new leader, planning for their future, and accomplishing their mission.

Context and Background

This client engaged M+S on strategic planning—seeking to hone its program areas to further impact and build on a storied history of championing their cause. When an unplanned executive transition occurred right after the strategic planning engagement began, we were quickly able to shift our focus and expertise to managing the transition in partnership with a subset of Board and staff. However, major transitions often bring to the surface what has been lying beneath for an organization’s culture and it was no different for this client. In order to effectively manage through the transition, the Board requested additional assistance from M+S to do conflict resolution and healing work to re-build trust and communications between and among Board and staff.

Goals of Engagement

  • Design a conflict resolution process sensitive to the client’s current and historical contexts
  • Involve the current yet transitioning leader while creating space for new leadership to be brought in effectively
  • Ensure all staff and Board are included appropriately and are apprised of the plan and progress
  • Focus on ensuring all voices are heard, while building consensus toward next steps
  • Be action-oriented while honoring the need for process
  • Focus on outputs and outcomes
  • Conflict resolution work relies on the process of being heard, yet workplace conflict resolution work must necessarily be action-oriented in order to produce a way forward. M+S consultants are trained to manage this tension and to work collaboratively with clients to pave a way forward from past wounds.

Challenges

  • Conflict resolution work relies on the process of being heard, yet workplace conflict resolution work must necessarily be action-oriented in order to produce a way forward. M+S consultants are trained to manage this tension and to work collaboratively with clients to pave a way forward from past wounds.

Mission Plus Strategy’s Lens

M+S consultants designed a hybrid conflict resolution process including interviews and group conferencing techniques to hear all voices, bring teams together safely, and move toward our outputs and outcomes from the process implemented. M+S designed an internal communications plan executed throughout the process to ensure all staff and Board were updated and apprised of progress and any obstacles. This transparency allowed internal stakeholders to participate freely in the process. 

Results

  • Agreements executed at the staff level and between Board and staff to rebuild trust and communicate effectively
  • Agreement about transitioning to new leadership and accepting interim leadership
  • Plan crafted to improve organizational culture with staff-wide buy-in

 

conflict resolution