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Cycle of Resolution

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The Cycle of Resolution Unveiled: Navigating Conflict to Find Common Ground

In every team, organization, or group, conflict is inevitable. The true measure of a group's cohesiveness and effectiveness is not the absence of conflict, but the ability to navigate it successfully. Enter the Cycle of Resolution, a transformative tool designed to turn conflict into collaboration, disagreement into decision, and tension into trust.

Historical Origins and Overview

Conflict resolution is as ancient as human interactions. While myriad techniques have been developed over time, the Cycle of Resolution stands out due to its holistic and iterative approach. Rooted in the principles of communication, empathy, and mutual respect, this model aims not just to solve a disagreement but to deepen understanding and relationships in the process.

Step-by-Step Implementation of the Cycle of Resolution

  1. Acknowledgment: Begin by recognizing that a conflict exists. Ignoring or avoiding it only intensifies emotions and misunderstandings.

  2. Expression: Each party openly shares their perspective, feelings, and concerns. This is done without judgment or interruption, fostering an environment of trust and respect.

  3. Clarification: Questions are asked to deepen understanding. This isn't about challenging or defending but genuinely seeking to comprehend the other's point of view.

  4. Strategize: With mutual understanding established, both parties collaboratively brainstorm solutions that address concerns and needs.

  5. Commitment: A consensus is reached on the best way forward, and both parties commit to implementing the agreed-upon solution.

  6. Review: After a predetermined time, revisit the agreement to assess its effectiveness and make any necessary adjustments.

  7. Celebrate: Recognize and appreciate the collaborative effort and the strengthened relationship that emerges from successfully navigating conflict.

Sample Introduction Script

"Today, we are here not to avoid or suppress our disagreements but to embrace them as opportunities for growth. We're going to journey through the Cycle of Resolution, a process that will help us transform our conflicts into stronger collaborations."

Helpful Facilitator Questions

  1. "Can you share more about what led to these feelings or this perspective?"

  2. "How does this situation impact your role or objectives?"

  3. "What needs or concerns are most pressing for you in this situation?"

  4. "Are there any underlying factors or previous experiences influencing your viewpoint?"

  5. "How can we find a solution that honors both our perspectives?"

  6. "What would be an ideal outcome for you?"

  7. "How can we ensure that the solutions we're considering are feasible and sustainable?"

  8. "Are there any potential challenges or obstacles we should anticipate?"

  9. "How will we measure the success of our agreed-upon solution?"

  10. "What can we do to strengthen our communication and collaboration moving forward?"

Signs of Success

  • The emergence of an environment where disagreements are addressed proactively and positively.

  • Decisions made collaboratively, reflecting the insights and concerns of all involved parties.

  • Stronger interpersonal relationships, marked by trust, respect, and open communication.

  • A culture that views conflict not as a threat but as an opportunity for growth and innovation.

Anticipating the Bumps on the Road

The journey through the Cycle of Resolution, while transformative, may also come with challenges:

  1. Overcoming the instinct to be defensive or to 'win' the argument.

  2. Ensuring that all parties feel safe and respected throughout the process.

  3. Navigating deep-rooted conflicts or those that stem from fundamental value differences.

Boost Your Success with the Cycle of Resolution

  1. Training and Workshops: Regularly conduct sessions to familiarize your team or organization with the principles and steps of the Cycle of Resolution.

  2. Feedback and Continuous Learning: After navigating a conflict, take the time to reflect on what went well and areas for improvement.

  3. Celebrate the Journey: Recognize and appreciate not just the resolution of conflicts but the process of collaboration, understanding, and mutual growth.

OD Application

The Cycle of Resolution Model: A Comprehensive Overview

The Cycle of Resolution Model serves as a structured approach to addressing issues, conflicts, or challenges within teams, organizations, or even interpersonal relationships. The model emphasizes a circular, iterative process that promotes understanding, open communication, and collaboration to reach an effective resolution.

Understanding the Cycle of Resolution Model

The Cycle of Resolution Model is rooted in the idea that effective problem-solving is not a linear, one-time event. Instead, it's a cyclical process that may need revisiting multiple times as situations evolve or new challenges arise. This model encompasses several stages, each crucial for ensuring that issues are thoroughly addressed and that solutions are sustainable over time.

Key Stages of the Cycle of Resolution Model:

  1. Recognition: Identifying the issue or conflict that needs resolution.

  2. Understanding: Gaining clarity about the root causes and implications of the issue.

  3. Discussion: Engaging in open dialogue to share perspectives and feelings.

  4. Collaboration: Working together to identify potential solutions.

  5. Implementation: Putting the agreed-upon solutions into practice.

  6. Evaluation: Assessing the effectiveness of the implemented solutions.

  7. Adjustment: Making any necessary changes based on feedback and results.

The Impact of the Cycle of Resolution Model on Problem-Solving and Conflict Management

Personal Impact:

  • Enhanced Communication Skills: Individuals learn the importance of expressing their perspectives clearly and listening actively.

  • Increased Empathy: By understanding others' viewpoints, individuals develop deeper empathy.

  • Greater Self-Awareness: Individuals reflect on their roles and contributions to the issue and the resolution process.

Organizational Impact:

  • Improved Team Dynamics: Teams that resolve issues effectively tend to have stronger relationships and better collaboration.

  • Increased Productivity: Addressing and resolving conflicts promptly can reduce downtime and boost overall efficiency.

  • Innovative Solutions: A structured resolution process can lead to more creative and effective solutions to problems.

Expert Guidelines for Implementing the Cycle of Resolution Model

1. Promote a Safe Environment:Ensure that all participants feel safe to express their opinions and feelings without fear of retribution.

2. Facilitate Open Dialogue:Encourage open and honest communication. Avoid blame and focus on understanding the issue from all angles.

3. Seek External Facilitation if Needed:In particularly challenging situations, bringing in an external facilitator can provide neutrality and structure.

4. Emphasize Collaboration:Ensure everyone involved has a stake in the solution, promoting buy-in and commitment.

5. Monitor Implementation Closely:Regularly check on the progress of implemented solutions to ensure they're working as intended.

6. Be Open to Adjustments:Stay flexible and be willing to make changes if the initial solutions aren't producing the desired results.

Measuring the Impact of the Cycle of Resolution Model

Feedback from Participants:Gather insights from those involved in the resolution process. Did they feel heard? Was the process effective?

Assessment of Solutions:Evaluate the effectiveness of the implemented solutions. Are they addressing the root cause of the issue?

Long-Term Monitoring:Track the recurrence of similar issues. A decrease in similar problems can indicate the effectiveness of the model.


The Cycle of Resolution Model offers a holistic and structured approach to problem-solving and conflict management. By emphasizing the cyclical nature of resolution, it recognizes that challenges are dynamic and that solutions may need revisiting and adjusting over time. Through its stages, the model promotes a deep understanding of issues, open dialogue, and collaborative action. Whether in organizational settings or interpersonal relationships, the Cycle of Resolution Model provides a pathway to address challenges comprehensively, fostering understanding, collaboration, and sustainable solutions. In a world where conflicts and challenges are inevitable, having a structured approach like this model can be invaluable in navigating them successfully and ensuring that resolutions are both effective and enduring.

Cycle of Resolution in Real Life

Case 1: "Marketing Mayhem": At Globex Corp., the marketing and sales teams were at loggerheads over campaign strategies. Through the Cycle of Resolution, they realized their shared goal of customer satisfaction and co-created a strategy that leveraged both teams' strengths.

Case 2: "EdTech Evolution": Two product managers at an EdTech startup disagreed on feature priorities. The Cycle of Resolution helped them understand their shared mission of empowering educators and led to a product roadmap that delighted their user base.

Case 3: "Non-Profit Navigations": Two non-profits aiming to address hunger had differing approaches. Instead of competing, they used the Cycle of Resolution to collaborate, resulting in a joint program that doubled their impact.

Deep Dive: Theoretical Underpinnings of the Cycle of Resolution

The Cycle of Resolution is undergirded by several theories from fields like psychology, communication, and organizational behavior:

  1. Conflict Resolution Theory: Pioneered by scholars like Morton Deutsch, this theory underscores the importance of cooperation, communication, and mutual respect in resolving disagreements.

  2. Transformative Mediation: Robert A. Baruch Bush and Joseph P. Folger emphasized not just conflict resolution but the transformation of relationships, a principle central to the Cycle of Resolution.

  3. Collaborative Communication: Pioneered by thinkers like Marshall Rosenberg, this theory emphasizes empathy, active listening, and non-violent communication, all of which are integral to the Cycle of Resolution.

Provocative Reflection Questions

  1. "How can embracing conflict reshape organizational cultures?"

  2. "In what ways does the Cycle of Resolution foster personal and professional growth?"

  3. "How does the model cater to diverse interpersonal dynamics and conflicts?"

  4. "How can the Cycle of Resolution be adapted for conflicts at various scales - from interpersonal to inter-organizational?"

  5. "How does the model ensure sustainability and long-term effectiveness of resolutions?"

  6. "How does the Cycle of Resolution intersect with other conflict resolution methodologies?"

  7. "How does the model prioritize empathy and mutual respect?"

  8. "How can organizations institutionalize the principles of the Cycle of Resolution?"

  9. "What role does leadership play in championing and implementing the Cycle of Resolution?"

  10. "How can the Cycle of Resolution be used as a tool for innovation and creativity?"

Deep Dive: Further Exploration

  1. "The Resolution Revolution: Recent Developments in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution" by Bernie Mayer: An exploration of conflict resolution in the modern context.

  2. "Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life" by Marshall B. Rosenberg: Delving deep into the principles of empathy and effective communication.

  3. "Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In" by Roger Fisher and William Ury: A foundational text on principled negotiation and conflict resolution.

Navigating the waters of conflict can be challenging, but with the Cycle of Resolution as your compass, you can turn even the most turbulent disagreements into opportunities for collaboration, growth, and success.

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