Leadership Simplified: Doug Van Dyke

Conflict Resolution

In today’s busy work world, disagreements happen frequently. While most leaders are skilled at resolving minor altercations, major conflicts can present problems – and crush productivity and profits. Whether the conflict stems from personality differences, misplaced blame, or frustrations with work ethic or communication style, our conflict resolution services provide a process that will enable your leaders and teams to get back on track.

    Help resolve conflicts in your organization! Call Leadership Simplified today: 941-776-1121  


    Case Study

    Problem: “Us vs. Them”  

    Overview: Chris was the national sales manager of a large insurance company. He oversaw 15 regional offices, coast-to-coast. One of his biggest offices was struggling. Sales were sluggish. Morale was low. Their customer satisfaction surveys were unacceptable. The sales team blamed the poor performance on the service team, while the service team blamed the sales team for, well, everything. Chris was frustrated and angry. He had coached the sales manager. He brought in human resources to conduct an intervention. Nothing helped the situation. Chris knew the office was too large to shut down, and too important to ignore. It was imperative that the unit begin to produce up to its market potential. At wit’s end, Chris contacted Doug Van Dyke of Leadership Simplified.  

    Process: After detailed conversations with Chris and his human resources team, Doug Van Dyke met individually with the sales manager and the service manager. Due to the severity of the situation, it was necessary for Doug to meet individually with everyone else on the team. Frankly, everyone needed an objective person with whom they could vent and share their personal frustrations. During those one-on-one meetings, Doug used his counseling and coaching skills to determine the root causes of their problems. In sum, no one wanted to fail, but the low level of trust that existed was hindering any type of positive collaborative effort.

    Doug chose to take the floundering team through the working agreement process. He met with the entire sales team and helped them list their realistic expectations of the service team. In turn, Doug met with the service team and helped them unlock their expectations of the sales team. Both teams responded nicely. They began to envision a positive relationship with the “other side.” Then the big moment came – it was time to gather the entire team to discuss their expectations of each other and to sign a working agreement. At first there were some contentious moments – the level of trust was very low. However, as each group accepted an expectation, or intelligently discussed why they felt an expectation was unrealistic, some magical things began to happen – cooperation and open-communication. It was refreshing. The people in the room felt like a heavy boulder had been lifted off their shoulders. Everyone began to talk more candidly, and share the causes of their frustrations and lack of trust. Chris, who was onsite for the team meeting, began to smile. By the end of the meeting a consensus was reached regarding how the sales people and the service people would work together. Doug warned them that the hard work lay ahead: living up to each other’s expectations and staying in integrity regarding those expectations. 

    In order to accentuate the positive momentum of the working agreement process, Doug Van Dyke was asked to conduct a skill-building and workplace teambuilding session for the team. In addition, the sales leader and the service leader received one-on-one executive coaching from Doug. While the leaders were charged with keeping their respective groups in integrity regarding the working agreement, Doug also followed up with the entire team on a regular basis in order to keep them on task. The sales and service groups were terrific professionals, who did what it took to turn things around!

    Result: Within twelve months from Chris’s initial call to Doug, the office was a profitable unit - with the same core team! In addition, the team was exhibiting good workplace communication skills, and employee conflict was all but gone. Bottom line: the “us vs. them” feeling was eliminated.  Within twenty-four months the office was nominated for a national, company award. Twelve months after that they won it. The office continues to function well and is a model for the company.

    So how did this team reduce leadership conflict, increase collaboration, build a better sense of team in the workplace, and get profits going in the right direction? They embraced a working agreement process that got them communicating and sharing strategic expectations of each other. The team had all the potential necessary to succeed. They simply needed a construct that allowed them to let off steam and move towards a positive result. 

    Testimonial: Interesting, informative, and effective program. It really helped us communicate with each other.” 

    Eliminate Us vs. Them in your workplace! Call us today: 941-776-1121  


    Case Study

    Problem: Feuding Leaders  

    Overview: Dan was perplexed. He ran a production unit for a large insurance company, and he faced leadership conflict and profitability issues. Due to the organization’s matrix structure it was imperative that Dan (the head of sales) and Carol (the manager of service) work in harmony. Instead, they vied for power, each believing the other was undermining them. As a result, the sales and service groups were in complete disarray: unable to focus on anything positive and productive. Dan’s boss was debating whether or not to close the unit and devote more time and energy to another unit 100 miles away. Before making the final decision on closing the unit, Dan’s boss reached out to the human resources department and requested outside intervention to see if things could be salvaged. The vice president of human resources contacted Doug Van Dyke of Leadership Simplified and requested conflict management resolution. 

    Process: Doug met with Dan and Carol individually. During those detailed conversations, it became clear to Doug that Carol and Dan possessed different leadership styles, moved with different senses of urgency, and communicated in different ways. It was no wonder that Carol and Dan were frustrated and angry with each other. In order to gain further clarity, Doug met with each team member individually. During those meetings additional differences and team issues were uncovered. Bottom line: no one in the office was comfortable with their working environment, which caused their grapevine to flourish and productivity to plummet. 

    The next step in the process for was Doug to meet with both Dan and Carol in order to fully explain the working agreement process. This process would open up positive communication in the workplace, as well as motivate team members to collaborate with other. During the initial working agreements meeting Dan and Carol shared detailed expectations of each other. The atmosphere in the beginning of the meeting was tense. Conversation was strained. As feedback and viewpoints were shared, however, the meeting took on a positive tone. Ultimately, Doug helped Dan and Carol create a meaningful working agreement, which outlined how they would work together. While they still possessed differences, a middle ground was realized that enabled Dan and Carol, and their workgroups, to productively move forward. 

    In order to maintain the positive momentum, the vice president of human resources requested that Doug Van Dyke coach Dan and Carol individually. Their customized coaching program focused on conflict management tools and communication techniques that would continue to elevate teamwork. Both Dan and Carol were receptive to the executive coaching process and did a great job of implementing the techniques they learned during the sessions.

    Result: The unit was profitable within four months. Also, out of a team of 18 people, only one staff member chose to leave the company. The fiscal year after the intervention, the unit was still in existence and they blew out their sales goals!

    So how did Dan and Carol enhance collaboration and communication, reduce “us vs. them,” and focus on positive behaviors that increased sales and net profits? They embraced a working agreement process that helped them talk candidly about their differences and help guide them to a place where they could work together. They both wanted to succeed. They just needed a platform that helped them succeed together.

    Testimonial:The initial meeting you facilitated was more entertaining and informative than I expected. I learned a lot. Also, the overall process helped us air out our issues and work together productively.

    Help combative leaders work together and succeed! Call us today: 941-776-1121


    Case Study

    Problem: Leader and Team are at odds   

    Overview: Sylvia was the leader of an important manufacturing department. She was also at odds with her team. For years, Sylvia was part of the team in a non-leadership role. During this time she performed her job well and got along with everyone. She was so talented in fact, that she was promoted to lead the department. Twenty-five percent of the team immediately accepted her role as leader, however, most of the team was resentful and gave her pushback. Several individuals began to undermine her. The team was torn apart. Morale deteriorated and the workgroup’s quality and productivity suffered. Everyone on the team knew they needed to collaborate better, but no one was willing to meet halfway. Tempers flared frequently; everyone was frustrated; and tension was always present. 

    Sylvia looked for help by visiting human resources. The vice president of human resources knew Doug Van Dyke of Leadership Simplified. She called Doug, explained the situation, and discussed collaboration and communication solutions with him. The VP of HR then introduced Doug to Sylvia and her workgroup. 

    Process: Doug met with Sylvia and explained the working agreement process to her. He highlighted that sharing meaningful expectations lay at the center of the process. Sylvia was engaged from the start, and was very interested in doing whatever it took to move her team forward. Doug also met one-on-one for an hour with each member of the department. They were a great group of people and Doug was optimistic that a positive result could be reached. After the individual meetings, Doug gathered Sylvia and her department together for a working agreement session. The meeting was tense at first. Tempers flared here and there. As the meeting progressed, however, people spoke candidly. Misunderstandings were identified and hurt feelings were acknowledged. People began to clearly state what they expected of Sylvia as their leader. In turn, she communicated what she expected of the team. A working agreement, filled with detailed expectations, was created and signed by everyone. After the session, the team began to implement and support the working agreement. Periodically over the next few months, Doug Van Dyke met with Sylvia and her department in order to ensure that they stayed in integrity regarding the agreement.

    Result: Tension was drastically reduced and frustrations dissipated. Positive communication and collaboration increased. Despite a few hiccups along the way, Sylvia and her team did a fine job of changing their behaviors and improving quality and productivity. Bottom Line: The department’s improved work product had a direct impact on improving the company’s sales volume and net profits.

    So how did a leader and a team who were at odds turn it around and work productively together? They bought in to a process that increased their ability to collaborate, communicate, and reduce misunderstandings. Everyone wanted a more comfortable situation. They needed a construct that helped them set aside bitter feelings and focus on what really mattered in their workplace

    Testimonial:Good process to start communicating and airing problems. Good solutions and final result.”

    Help leaders and teams at odds in your workplace to find a common ground – and thrive! Call us today: 941-776-1121

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