On April 23 we will begin a six-week series of corporate (or organizational) mysteries on our Barnes & Conti LinkedIn page that we hope you’ll join us in solving.
On Tuesdays, we’ll provide the mystery scenario and ask you to think about what could be behind it. On Wednesdays, we’ll review some possible underlying causes (please respond with your ideas!) and ask you how you would investigate. On Thursdays, we’ll feature some of the most interesting responses. We look forward to “solving” these mysteries with you.
- Visit the Barnes & Conti LinkedIn page
- Read our mystery scenario post on Tuesday and respond to it by clicking on the comment tab under the post.
- Read our possible underlying causes post on Wednesday and post your own by clicking the comment tab under the post.
- Read the featured investigative actions post on Thursday and if any of the ideas stick, consider trying them out in your workplace.
Examples of how to respond (responses are bolded and italicized):
Tuesday’s Post: Mystery scenario:
A client’s team that you’re observing seems to be divided into two camps, with consistent conflict between two informal leaders. There doesn’t seem to be any pattern to the disagreements, but if one of them is for an idea, the other is against it. They always have very rational explanations for their positions, but the conflict is affecting the team’s productivity and morale. Please comment on why this might be happening.
There might be a past conflict between the two informal leaders that subconsciously is stopping them from coming to an agreement
Team members are too scared to voice their opinions and are leaving the answers to the informal leaders
Wednesday’s Post: Possible underlying causes:
- The two leaders have a history, unknown to your client, where one perceives that the other has harmed his or her career.
- The two leaders are in competition for an important position or project where your client’s recommendation will be key to the selection.
- There are complicating personal relationships within the team that are not discussable.
- There is something within the team or organizational system that has established competing goals for the two people involved, possibly unintentional and below their awareness.
- I agree, these underlying causes match what I posted as well. I hope no one harmed the other person’s career!
Thursday’s Post: Investigative actions:
- Interview the two leaders separately, asking them to give you their understanding of the conflict as it currently stands and how it came about as well as their ideas for resolving it.
- Meet with the two leaders together, using conflict resolution techniques such as asking each of them to summarize the other’s position on a specific issue.
- Ask HR for information on the career history of the two leaders.
- Have a deep discussion with your client about the goals and reward systems within his/her team or the larger organization.
- Other possible actions…
I have a similar situation at my place of work. I will try your point about asking HR for information on their career history.
We intend this to be a conversation rather than a search for a “school solution.”