Rethinking Conflict: A Catalyst for Creativity, Change, and Deeper Relationships
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2015

Cindy Anderson, JD, CPLP

Cindy Anderson Consulting, Auburndale, FL, USA


A conflict, at its most basic, is nothing more than a difference in opinion, perspective, or feeling about a situation. What most people picture when they think of conflict is what happens so often when healthy conflict is not managed well and devolves into arguments with people digging in their heels on their positions. As a result, most people recoil at the concept of conflict, believing it to be something that should be tamped down as quickly as possible, if not avoided altogether.

What if we think about conflict differently? What if we think about the basis of the conflict, the difference of opinion, perspective, or feeling as a required catalyst for any change. As Stephen Covey says, “If two people have the same opinion, one is unnecessary.” So, the question becomes: How do we alter our paradigms and approaches to conflict situations to generate transformational improvements, while deepening our connections and relationships with those with whom we disagree?

We’ll explore some realistic and foundational concepts that could assist in building cultures where robust dialogue is not only encouraged, it is rewarded, and where disagreements launch new ideas, and lateral thinking is embraced. At a minimum, the utilization of these concepts will decrease stress levels when confronted with conflict-oriented situations.


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Cindy Anderson, JD, CPLP
Cindy Anderson Consulting
Auburndale, FL, USA