Conflict burns your resources: Sustainable Leadership is the art of transforming it.
The CASE® Method is fundamentally a framework born to deal with conflicts between people, objectives, resources or priorities. The supreme “art of Leadership” consists of the capacity to continuously transform such conflicts in multi-stakeholder contexts.
Conflicts are equated with TRANSITION phases or major changes, for which there is a special version of the Method. In these cases, CASE helps to initiate, if blocked, or successfully complete critical phases such as mergers/acquisitions, generational changes, business model innovations, professional transformations. It is also helpful in major personal transformations, which often pose difficult challenges.
CASE® is there to facilitate the job of executives and managers, reducing risks and avoiding costs and waste generated by the friction from conflicts. The Method is thus an effective leadership tool, fostering motivation and engagement in the Company’s stakeholders. As a consequence of the implementation of CASE® methodologies throughout the Company’s value chain, the partnership and innovation capacity increases dramatically, likewise efficiency and performance.
Since it is based on mechanisms and qualities that are fundamentally natural to all human beings, CASE®:
The person who uses CASE® in transitions/ major changes naturally acquires a leadership ability recognised by the people around him/her.
The Method comes as a simple and intuitive process to transform a risk into an opportunity, especially in the complex multi-stakeholder contexts of today’s business world.
That is why it is applicable, with slight modifications in the two versions, to both CONFLICTS and TRANSACTIONS.
It’s based on robust knowledge about human nature, neurobiology and research on conflict management spanning about half a century. It pivots on excellent, though simple to comprehend, communication skills. Once implemented, the CASE® approach guides the parties safely along a 4 Phase, 9 Steps journey made more effective by 9 Pillars, or recommended attitudes.
The outcome of a CASE® process is the transformation of the risk, a potentially highly damaging situation, in a creative opportunity, where win-win solutions can deliver better performance, results and the satisfaction of all involved parties. Hereafter a quick overview of how the Method works throughout the Phases. (examples are made upon conflict situations, but the approach is the same)
The first step of the process is the safe acquisition of facts, which are the foundation of any sound business decision. It’s not always easy to have them clear. Thus The CASE© helps to get rid of all superstructure, like hearsay, interpretations or emotional reactions that preclude clarity. Follow me throughout a real case example: a typical Production/Sales conflict in a manufacturing company. Facts are: “In the last quarter the salespeople brought in 45% more personalized orders, with 25% of them entailing the shortening of delivery term up to 50%. “This has caused delay in delivery of our machines in 75% of cases”. It is a fact “The chief engineer, said he had enough and want’s to leave”, while it is NOT a fact “They (i.e. the sales department) want to push the CE out of the company”, or “Those in Sales are a bunch of incompetent people” or “In Production they want us to miss the targets and get screwed”
In this Phase, however complex the situation, the cause factors are stripped down to just four key ones, called the Basic Needs. This facilitates enormously the quest for transformative solutions, and the activation of constructive energy among the parties. It is just astounding to watch how, from this phase on, people begin to cooperate in the creation of solutions! Let’s follow on with the example: the two company functions make their objectives and needs explicit, which shows that they are NOT one against the other, legitimizing themselves reciprocally. In the actual case, while Sales was concentrated on achieving the yearly sales budget, Production was set on quality of product and respect of working times: both legitimate objectives and in the common interest. However, if you don’t untangle the conflict, the fight will go on forever and consume precious resources of the Company.
Too often, inadequate tools are used to solve problems and thus they, even if good in themselves, don’t work. The first step in this Phase is to find out at what level the conflict is active, so as to use appropriate actions, set consistent timing and achievable objectives. Once assessed the level, the creative process kick-starts to generate solutions that can satisfy the parties’ Needs as ascertained before, while generating the best outcome for the organization as a whole In our example, the Analytic Phase gave elements to situate the conflict at the inter-function organizational level. The solution needed decisions and actions at the higher management level. Specifically, the procedure for setting the budgets of the various departments had to be changed, and guidelines for acceptance of orders with modifications or personalization had to be also drafted.
This is time for action, according to the strategy adopted before, keeping clarity of objectives and monitoring progress and efficacy. The level of action is also continuously monitored, assuring that the one acted upon is always the most relevant one. In our example, the first executive step was to draw new guidelines for Sales, its monitoring and improvement in joint meetings between Sales, Production and the General Management. Another step was the analysis of the relationship and interactions between the budgets of the two departments and of the resources available to achieve them. This brought to a different allocation of resources, more functional to the wellbeing of the whole system. A coaching program also helped the management to make internal relationships and communication more constructive.
The CASE© Method is illustrated, along with all its methodological foundations, in the book “Sustainable Leadership. The CASE© Method”, by Federico Fioretto available at the button on the right