And that brings me to the topic of conflict within organisations. Often, although people share the same goals, this inevitably leads to disagreements. Unfortunately, when these escalate, little remains of the shared goals and good atmosphere. Conflict management is therefore the skill of guarding the constructive nature of differences. But how do we get started? Well, remembering the metaphor of karate, using a kick. A self-coined acronym for which you may congratulate me through the usual channels. After all, kick stands for Knowledge-Intention-Context-Key. Let's see how we execute a good kick.

Knowledge. The first step in conflict is to gain objective knowledge. This seems trivial but we live in a highly opined world where everyone seems to 'have to' have an opinion about everything. So the skill of identifying biases and assumptions is under pressure. Objectifying, especially translating what is implicit and vague into the concrete is therefore an essential step. So always ask yourself whether you assume something or really know something. Challenge your thinking by critically questioning yourself on what information you base it on, and what information is missing, to arrive at an objective situation sketch about the parties involved (who), their approach (how) and (what) interests.

Intention. A second question we need to ask is what are the intentions of the parties involved, including our own. We need to find out the answer as to the motive of each individual. In short, the answer as to why they want to enter the conflict and what they want to achieve. Again, this is not always so obvious. Think about the last time you received feedback. Was it really that clear why a further person gave you that message, what his or her intention was?  

Context. Furthermore, an environment often determines how we will behave and this is no different with conflict. In conflict management, we also need to understand where the conflict is taking place. What are the impeding and promoting environmental factors that led to the conflict. Moreover, the question of how we can intervene on that environment to guard the constructive nature of a disagreement also arises. Just look at a meeting. The atmosphere in a room without daylight where smartphones and laptops vie for space is slightly different from standing together around a smartboard.

Key. Finally, we look for the key to reach a solution. It is the answer to the question of how to proceed constructively. The answer to that question often starts with the question itself. A solution-oriented question is specific, concrete, positive, future-oriented and starts with how. Think about uniting different cultures. You can sit around the table around the question 'how do we make sure we stop getting in each other's way?' As you can imagine, this is of little consequence. Better would be to start from the question 'how do we get to know each other's different habits better from now on?'. That question is specific, concrete and forward-looking and therefore leads to better results.  

Naturally, conflicts can still escalate. At those moments, Cobra Kai recommends following three steps: Strike first-strike hard-no mercy.