Academy for Chief Executives Blog Rotating Header Image

From Conflict to Collaboration

Academy Group 34, chief executive mentoring and experiential learning group (with members from the Dorset area) recently had Shay McConnon as their speaker on the subject of “Conflict to Collaboration”.

Conflict eats into time, morale and profits. It is the largest reducible cost in many organisations. Managers can spend up to 25% of their time dealing with unnecessary conflict. This is time lost to creative, productive work. Tolerating conflict just does not make good business sense.

Shay delivered an outstanding workshop with tangible take-away value. We all got prompt credit cards on giving and receiving feedback. Every member had conflict (they always will) so the subject was totally relevant, and Shay’s style is endearing, inclusive and very effective.

I’d like to share with you the key learning points from this session:

  • Conflict arises when there’s an unmet need. An argument addresses the facts to prove the need and is irrelevant.
  • Conflict can be dealt with effectively by receiving feedback. It’s all about hearing the need, paraphrasing and possibly exploring its importance to check understanding, then sharing your need and negotiating a balanced solution.
  • Giving feedback works well when you validate the other person’s need, talk facts, your feelings and what you need! No accusation, no blame, no demands! Feedback: the key to progressing from conflict to collaboration.

Mike Wilsher
Chairman, Academy Group 34

The Academy for Chief Executives, a leading provider of experiential business learning® facilitates peer groups of CEOs and Managing Directors who meet together every month to network and take full advantage of experiential learning. To hear great speakers like this every month and engage in The Board You Could Never Afford® you can find out more about the Dorset group, or to find a local group near you, visit


  1. llpathways says:

    Hi Mike

    Enjoyed reading your blog today. However,in moving from conflict to collaboration I don’t think there exists one simple formula for success.

    Nevertheless, here are some thoughts relating to conflict resolution. Thoughts resulting from my research for an ebook(work in progress)about the exercise of leadership and shared learning.

    – Resist the urge to dictate. To attempt to dictate is a major reason why conflicts all too often go critical and why resolutions fail to materialize.

    – We may have to moderate our pretentions while others may have to modify their aspirations.

    – Listen carefully to the other person’s point of view and attempt to identify the causes of the conflict, and try to remove, or alleviate the problem through dialogue, practical help and support.

    – Offer, whenever possible, positive assessment, praising genuine effort and the work of others – thus minimizing perceptions of being threatened.

    – Be prepared to accept modifications and to comptomise when possible.

    – Be prepared to examine what contribution we ourselves may have made to the situation.

    – Try to be aware of when progress is possible, or when retreat is necessary.

    I’m sure you could think of many more. In any case I hope the above has been of some interest.

    Eugene Gallagher

    for Leadership and Learning Pathways

  2. mikewilsher says:

    I appreciated your points. Shay would summarise a lot of them by quoting one of the habits from Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Seek first to understand, then to be understood.

    I’ve found that by focusing on needs there’s an overwhelming sense of relief – and that helps both parties view the interaction much more positively.

    Good luck with the ebook. And if you’d like to connect with Shay McConnan, then let me know.

    Mike Wilsher
    Academy for Chief Executives

Leave a Reply