Loomio
Wed 7 Apr 2021 8:17PM

our past conflicts/tensions/disagreements

AC Amelia Craig Public Seen by 7

Hello Team,

As a way to better understand how/when we might use the governance document, our team would like to learn from our past conflicts/tensions/disagreements that we´ve experienced at work (YUN or otherwise).

Please write a short description of a time when where there was a clash of underlying assumptions or principles or where you felt an underyling principle or value was not respected/acknowledged.

RB

Ruth Blackshaw Mon 12 Apr 2021 3:28PM

Example from YUN with another UN network: we entered into something as a co-creation but there seemed to be a different understanding of the relationship (it seemed other group was not participating very actively, almost expecting us to do the work but then felt things weren't moving fast enough). Then the partner disengaged and went ahead with the project without YUN which felt hurtful. Mainly it seemed to be a mix of lack of clear communication around our expectations and assumptions of our own roles & each other's roles and lack of communication / discussion about tension/noticing when things weren't going well and raising that for discussion.

EG

Eleonora Gatti Thu 29 Apr 2021 7:07PM

I do not understand this, are you talking about UNicoins? Probably good to mention names and exact situation. otherwise we cannot solve it.

RB

Ruth Blackshaw Thu 29 Apr 2021 7:13PM

same as below @Eleonora Gatti not UNicoins

RB

Ruth Blackshaw Mon 12 Apr 2021 3:30PM

Example from YUN with another UN network: again thinking something is a co-creation/group dynamic but decisions then get made by only one part or one person without consultation with other members, including removing YUN members from the group. This created distrust. Again it seemed to stem from not talking openly about tension or conflict of interests in this case, despite YUN trying to raise it in advance. So the issue built up and reached a boiling point without discussing openly as a full team.

EG

Eleonora Gatti Thu 29 Apr 2021 7:08PM

I do not understand this, are you talking about UNicoins? Probably good to mention names and exact situation. otherwise we cannot solve it.

RB

Ruth Blackshaw Thu 29 Apr 2021 7:12PM

no these are not UNicoins but Young UN working with other collaborators. Happy to provide more details but not sure if relevant, the purpose was to identify patterns from previous experiences team members have had with conflicts/tensions/disagreements of any forms.

EG

Eleonora Gatti Thu 29 Apr 2021 7:28PM

Ah OK, thank you for clarifying Ruth! No need for the names then. I understand the purpose.

RB

Ruth Blackshaw Thu 29 Apr 2021 8:04PM

and do add from your own experiences @Eleonora Gatti ! can be in your work team, Young UN, any other initiatives! we want to build up a picture of patterns to have the best approach possible in UNicoins governance (& hopefully can help our thinking for wider YUN too). also given that not effectively addressing conflict is a huge reason for disengagement, especially important for any voluntary networks & communities

RB

Ruth Blackshaw Mon 12 Apr 2021 4:34PM

Example from YUN working with a UN entity: UN entity put pressure on team members to have visibility opportunities (e.g. pitching at events) and communications were centred around that entity rather than being a collaborative effort. The underlying importance of one UN entity in the limelight vs YUN perspective of cross-UN system solution seemed quite fundamentally in tension.

MM

Michaela Markova Mon 12 Apr 2021 4:41PM

Example from YUN UNicoins team: when one former member of the team claimed to be part of the team but was not putting any/enough work. It is perhaps important to ensure that we understand what are the roles, rights and responsibilities of the members

MM

Michaela Markova Mon 12 Apr 2021 4:44PM

Example from YUN in general: I think it sometimes might lead to some tensions when, for instance, certain group of people i.e. a core team is formed for a particular initiative but then for whatever reasons (these can be of course very valid ones) the most or some of the members of the core team drop the initiative, which is then left without any clear "leads/owls" to lead the process.

RB

Ruth Blackshaw Sat 17 Apr 2021 9:57PM

Agree @Michaela Markova this is a really important one! Jumping ahead to solutions, I think having a clear agreement among members that we welcome each other indicating when they feel a role is not being filled properly or something like this - could be used through regular "governance" meetings like in holacracy where "tensions" are registered where there is lack of clarity between roles for e.g. - so we create that space to air where we think a role is not being met, but somehow having pre-agreed the understanding that we won't take this personally but rather see as a collective thing we need to address as a block in the system, something like this... not sure if I'm making much sense

AC

Amelia Craig Wed 14 Apr 2021 8:20PM

Committee work in the UN has always pushed my buttons. I´ve led and participated in committees where people from different agencies get together about a topic of interest. One person does all the work to present the information, ask for inputs and decisions, and then no one meets for another 6 months. I´ve tried several times to get smaller committees to be more than approval bodies: each person take a role, share ideas and information in a collaborative way, and not put all the onus on the one person to “make all my ideas happen.” Collaboration is not the norm in the UN.

RB

Ruth Blackshaw Sat 17 Apr 2021 10:01PM

This really resonates @Amelia Craig ! To take a step further, I think perhaps the missing piece reading your description might be co-creation not only collaboration - there is no expectation and often not the expertise/experience with participatory processes to enable genuine co-creation in my experience. I think people don't really know what it is somehow. I saw this in my team just recently where staff are invited to contribute to a change process in a static way - e.g. townhall, survey, focus group - so there is consultation but there is no space for co-creation and actually thinking together to advance proposals. Leading to frustration and a sense of helplessness - that we input but decisions get made elsewhere, people don't feel able to genuinely shape the outcome...

AC

Amelia Craig Wed 14 Apr 2021 8:20PM

I worked on a team that was writing a strategic document. The lead asked everyone to bring back strategies from countries all over the world. The lead made a spreadsheet with all the commonalities and differences and wrote the strategy for the rest of the team to rubber stamp. There was no dialogue, not special thinking about what things are like in the UN- just a smash-up. Again, lack of collaboration and one person does all the work (poorly).

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AC

Amelia Craig Wed 14 Apr 2021 8:22PM

I see managers adding their expectations about a work when they´re evaluating it, but they didn´t express those expectations when they assigned it. I see this all the time. Staff members feel bad about not knowing what “This is how work is done around here. You should know”

RB

Ruth Blackshaw Sat 17 Apr 2021 9:47PM

Example from YUN: Two teams were working together on a project but had different understandings of their roles and expectations of each other. Part of the underlying tension was around different visions of the Young UN brand/project vibe but mainly the issue (in my view) was around lack of clarity around the process and at what point the design was final vs just a proposal and who was invited to contribute in what way to what aspect. There was no discussion as a whole group at the early design phase on the first versions and then momentum got lost and another design was developed in parallel. In the end, quite a few members ended up frustrated and not feeling valued although everyone had the best intentions coming into the project.

RB

Ruth Blackshaw Sat 17 Apr 2021 9:54PM

Example from YUN working with a UN entity: YUN was invited to participate together with a UN entity as part of a project team for a bootcamp event. The power dynamics were unbalanced as the entity had 3 reps in the team and Young UN only one, plus the entity invited Young UN to be part of their team rather than it being on equal terms. Also the entity was looking to invest in the solution and lead at the cross-UN system level, whereas Young UN had no funds or formal leverage/bargaining power in cross-UN committees. There were underlying differences in assumptions/values regarding cross-UN solution vs entity requirements & entity wish for visibility; also on HR tool perspective vs creating a peer-to-peer platform; also on procuring a big solution vs rapid prototyping and understanding user needs; also on openly sharing information and enabling co-creation from other YUN members vs keeping info in the team of 4 only; also on fluid approach of YUN with different members chipping in and participating, including in responses to communications, vs wanting a fixed focal point. It very much felt like old power/new power worlds colliding https://hbr.org/2014/12/understanding-new-power

ML

Marc Liberati Thu 22 Apr 2021 8:44AM

On thinking around this I wanted to raise a few points based on the governance document trend.

  • Structured approach in conflict transformation:

    • mitigating tensions (open channels of communication)

    • dealing with tensions (group led mediation with clear time limits)

    • moving forward with tensions (tensions resolution should have lessons learned that are viewed as precedence)

  • Decision making in a large group with various perspective should have clear guidance on how decisions are finalized (i.e. majority, super majority, weighted roles, pure consensus, no blocks etc.) so that there can be agile decision making in a rule based manner.

  • Group changes (roles, membership changes etc.) should have clear rules that in my opinion would require higher consensus than other decisions.

RB

Ruth Blackshaw Thu 29 Apr 2021 8:06PM

Thanks @Marc Liberati !This is really helpful for forward look / solutions! 👍 do you have any concrete examples of past conflicts to share also from any context? please do share! also tagging @Akash K P @Simon Bettighofer @Klas Moldéus to challenge them to once white paper is on unite 🙂