Conflictive solutions are those found in competitive environments where the solutions are incompatible amongst each other.
Take for example this sales organization within a company that is asking for a new solution that could improve the sales process -– for example, they want to inform special clients about additional features, which they start manually because there are no (more) resources left to implement them in a structural way. It is however an extra service that strengthen the loyalty and makes new revenues possible.
The internal -– centralized -– service department is stuffed with strategic and other high committed assignments and is unable to handle this little issue. So the sales department starts to select an own supplier to solve it. Everybody is happy, because the resources are efficiently allocated (this is where the conflict develops).
Then after a while, this new feature becomes heavenly accepted by the customers, and as a traditional rule –- we elaborate on success - more money is invested. By that time, the strategic projects are delivered and extra resources become available to focus on new issues. Like this one. In the mean time, the new business development has grown to significant proportions.
Behind success follows new commitment and more people get involved. Yet it is a strange solution found by others (by them, not by us). The infrastructure is different and there is no connection to the rest of the organization. Not only incompatible but non-communicating. This results in a common problem where client data is distributed amongst the new solution (system) and the existing one.
The end of the story is the longer you wait with leaving this island alone, the more problems you will encounter once “embraced" by the group.
It starts however already to become an issue once the initiative is not longer monitored (much earlier). The solution is not to forbid such initiatives – because without commitment, the sales organization has found itself a new line of business. This issue grows into a conflict because of a lack of monitoring and communication. Basically because of different applied rules; “laissez faire until proven worthy" used at the beginning and once the new solution get the attention of the group this switches over to “this is strategic, we should control it. "
How to avoid this? Manage with coherence. All the details count.
© 2005 Hans Bool
Hans Bool is the founder of Astor White a traditional management consulting company that offers online management advice. Astor Online solves issues in hours what normally would take days. You can apply for a free demo account