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From Conflict to Collaboration: Working With People You Don’t Understand

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From Conflict to Collaboration: Working With People You Don’t Understand


With the accelerated pace of change today, organizations need to be more adaptive and more innovative. This means spotting potential threats from different angles and using diverse perspectives to create new opportunities. Put differently, the ability to productively engage the diversity within an organization has become an increasingly important capability.

But guess what? Your organization is full of human beings, and as humans we often struggle to understand, never mind appreciate and engage, people who are different from us.

Whether it’s attitude toward work, behaviour in meetings, or communication style, our natural tendency is to dismiss people we don’t understand as odd, weird, or just plain difficult.

But research has shown again and again that diverse teams have better, more innovative outcomes – and that includes less-obvious kinds of diversity that can create misunderstanding and conflict, such as:

• Generational diversity: differences in values and perspectives that have developed in the context of our broader formative experiences;

• Functional diversity: differences in processes, methods and sub-cultures fostered by siloed organizations and specialized departmental functions; and

• Cognitive and stylistic diversity: differences in work styles resulting from how people take in and process information.

In this keynote address, innovation expert Melissa Quinn and coaching guru Cyndie Flett will explore the lesser-known forms of diversity that are present in every organization. And, they’ll discuss how embracing mindsets of curiosity and generosity can help every professional convert conflict into the collaboration that’s required for today’s organizations to evolve and thrive.




About the Presenters

Melissa Quinn has spent 20 years in a variety of roles including leadership coach, strategy and innovation advisor, head of training and development for a global company, and COO of Doblin – Deloitte Consulting’s design and innovation practice. Through these roles, she has both observed and directly experienced the challenges of innovation leadership. Today, she combines this experience with interactive workshops, training and coaching to offer inspiring and practical leadership experiences.

Cyndie Flett, M.A., is one of Canada’s leading experts on coaching. As the former Vice President of Research and Development for the Coaching Association of Canada, and Director of the National Coaching Certification Program, Cyndie has dramatically impacted the way that literally millions of coaches are educated across the country. Cyndie is sought after both nationally and internationally to share her expertise with the corporate community, where clients have been fascinated by the progress that has resulted from having Cyndie engaged with their leaders.



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