A Collaborative Approach to Conflict:
Learning & Using Model II

Learning and Using Model II, was co-designed by Dr. Michael Sales and Dr. Bill Joiner, a Art of the Future affiliate, to introduce participants to an in-depth experience with the ideas of Professors Chris Argyris and Don Schon. Both Sales and Joiner are among the few people who were supervised directly by Argyris while pursuing their doctorates at Harvard.

Model II is a set of values, attitudes and behaviors that lead to a much more open approach to conflict. The focus of Model II training is to learn how to interact with others in conflict situations so that a much higher level of learning results than that which occurs when people polarize or listen to each other without a real willingness to change their own points of view.

Participants are exposure to Model II concepts, such as:

"The Ladder of Inference, i.e., learning to see how we all move from what actually transpired in a situation to the meaning and motivations that we assign to other people's behavior set of creative thinking methodologies that can be used to identify and prioritize important customer needs and to generate and prioritize creative solutions to these needs (e.g., product improvements and new product ideas).
The importance of Awareness Gaps and Actions Gaps, i.e., the ways in which we are unaware of the fact that we are acting in a defensive fashion and the ways in which we act defensively even though we sincerely intend to do otherwise.
The relationship of Model II and interpersonal effectiveness to the construction of "learning organizations," a term that was probably invented by Argyris and Schon to describe the dynamic that exists in a work system that values openness and knows how to tamp down defensive behavior and attitudes.

The core of the workshop involves the construction of personal learning cases and discussing them through with colleagues. The personal learning case is a particular tool that helps us become more aware of what we are thinking about and how we are feeling while we are interacting with others in some situation that is important, fairly typical and somewhat stressful. (This personal case method has been written about extensively both by Argyris and Schon and by others, such as Peter Senge, author of The Fifth Discipline.) Many participants in this program have had profound insights into their way of dealing with others and the limits of their own personal effectiveness as a result of using the Personal Learning Case tool.

Members of the Art of the Future network have had extensive experience teaching Model II to executives, consultants, and middle managers in many different organizations. A version of this program that was designed by Michael Sales was used for a number of years by Arthur D. Little, which was once one of the United States' most important consulting firms. Another was used by William M. Mercer, the actuarial company, and another was employed extensively by a software subsidiary of the Chase Manhattan Bank.

Art of the Future's Middle Power and Facilitation for Results programs and its Executive Coaching services both draw upon the tools used in Learning and Using Model II and Working With Others .

On some occasions, Art of the Future may offer clients mediation and arbitration services. Art of the Future seeks to provide these remedies to intense conflict situations in a way that makes a collaborative approach to conflict more likely should there be a subsequent disagreement between the parties.

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