Strategic Planning within Conflict Agreements

I've spent a lifetime developing business and activist projects, and also calmly listening to people and helping them explore what has them pissed off. Conflicted Strategic Planning is strategic planning similar to what a unified organization or community might do, but attentive to and working around serious conflict within the organization.

Sometimes people with overlapping goals have specific conflicts that block overall agreement. For example, EarthSave Seattle had vegan volunteers who deeply desired their organization to speak a strong truth, and mainstreamers who felt called to tone down the message to reach the masses. Goals overlapped by 99% to an outsider, but the group tore itself up. On a bigger scale, Occupy and the Tea Party are unable to work together to fight corruption.

I like to bring a few drops of mediation to strategic planning for people who have both conflict and agreement. To locate and isolate ideological disputes, make sure both parties are heard, and that the conflict is not solved but set aside, so that areas of agreement can move forward.

If you want to solve the conflict, give each other hugs and find agreement, hire a mediator or a therapist. If you wish you could just have a strategic planner design (or merely facilitate) an effective campaign, but find that key conflicts block that effort, I'd like to help. Hugs and therapy are good, but even psychological research shows that the best way to bond is to work together. Read more

Hot & Cool Resistance: Negotiating Past Window Breaking

There is a never-ending debate about “violence” in Oakland's Occupy movement that is wearing out the local Occupy movement. (“Violence” in quotes because usually the activities being talked about would be called minor vandalism, not violence, in other settings.) A vast amount of negotiating has gone on within Occupy, but there's been a real failure to find consensus around the “Diversity of Tactics” that includes occasional broken windows.