LEARNING TO COOPERATE MEANS LEARNING TO INTEGRATE
Most conflictual situations are generated by different perspectives that polarize losing their potential.
A little amount of contrast is useful and even good sign, but when it turns into conflict, you experience direct or indirect, verbal or physical violence. In that case you tend to polarize, that is, to defend your position as you would if you were under a death menace. We found interesting solutions to conflictual interactions, but you can generally use proportional creativity integration as a rule of thumb.
CREATIVITY EVOLVES CONTRAST
Proportional creativity integration needs training as we're used to address situations with another different approach, the win/lose one, in which the winning position is the only one respected. In proportional creativity you first establish a criteria -that could be voting or weighting opportunities- to measure situations, and then try to creatively integrate the diverse perspectives. There is not a standard recipe (..for a free lunch): you need to know the context well. Let's see two examples.
The first story is a simple one. In a company office, people want to use the kitchen zone for different purposes. Some want to use it as the standard lunch zone for the workers. Other people think cooking courses may be organized while some few other ones say they would use the colourful kitchen as an office. Three different views clashing one against another. Proportional space and time may solve the situation. The majority will use it as the lunch area, while the third group can use a proportional office space during working hours. Cooking workshops instead will be held in the weekend when nobody is working.
Another famous example tells of an ancient library, during summertime. It's very hot, a man opens a window, but a girl blocks him as that window is facing a restaurant: noise and various smells would fill the library and defocus the readers.
The man insists and the two start to argue, conflict is near.. How would you solve this situation?
Suddenly the librarian stopped the two, closed the window and.. opened another one on the other side of the library, allowing fresh air to enter with no noise nor cooking smells.
Once you know the context, creativity arises and solutions are found in the integration of opposite, clashing but right perspectives.
Contrast between ideas or people is part of the game, conflict is when contrast escalates into a form of violence. Equivalence, Trust, Care, Transparency, Freedom, Understanding and Diversity are your keys to foster solutions for transforming contrast in development and cooperation.
EQUIVALENCE: TURNS AND EXPERIMENTATION
Allow experimentation and use turns so that different proposed solutions have their space and equivalent importance. Enjoy the way others would do things: you will learn how they think. Understanding others will let them follow you if they make a mistake or if their solution is not so enjoyable.
TRUST: TIME AND EVALUATION
Give time its pace. Allow experience and adaptation to fix the situation and evaluate the results after a given amount of time. Sometimes fear may make people think in a negative way about events in the future. Faith in your solution and in those of others allows things to set up. Trust is important also in evaluations: when you see the solution tested has evidently damaged the group for a relevant amount of time, it will be easier to agree to a change.
CARE: BETTER CONTEXTS, BETTER FEELINGS
Care means respect and good coordination. The context, the environment and the services should be observed. Are you in a beautiful place? Are plants or animals respected around you? Are there colors? Is there good food and water? Are you feeling good? Are you tired and need a pause? Are you afraid of something? Are you happy instead? Can you find an area of your body in which that happiness is?
These questions seem to be a lot but they are very important. They can create a funny and bright mood and give you time to relax a bit and be more comprehensive with each other.
TRANSPARENCY: CONTEXTUAL POINT OF VIEW
The trick here is to expose everyone’s point of view in complete freedom. Be careful with this methodology and be ready to accept apparent unpleasant aspects. Bear very well in mind that what is requested is not to tell the truth right away, but to clearly expose the contextual situation from which your point of view desumes the truth you are going to expose. Saying "The wall is white" is different than saying "In my video camera, I see the blue wall as completely white."
In search for a proportional creative integration, tell in a transparent way what is the minimum you need to be comfortable in the current situation and what are the limitations you face in your position. Also, express your desires in first person, trying to be specific as much as you can. For example, a sentence like "You don't listen to me" becomes "I feel like as I am not able to be understood. I would really like if I could talk for 5 minutes, no more, without interruption."
FREEDOM: THE RIGHT SPACE TO EVERYONE
Giving the right space is a way to make people feel at ease without separating them. Nothing is worse than forcing to be together people who do not want to. If you are a few, try a pause or simply some space or distance between the people in conflict for a determined amount of time. If you are many, you can experience a live setup that foster cooperation organising an Open Space Cooperation.
UNDERSTANDING: COMMON CODES
Ask yourself what are the values you believe in when you have a contrast. The values or the motivations could be profoundly similar even in a wide difference of personal views. Choose together common and measurable criterias to evaluate the situation. Everyone of us is different, and everyone of us sees things with a different perspective, trying to be happy in this very complex world. The key in creating the feeling of cooperation is understanding that everyone sees the world with complete different codes, so when you reciprocally share the way you see things it's possible to comprehend each other and find the right integration.
DIVERSITY: INTEGRATION AND ROLES
Sometimes contrasts are based on two visions about a problem which do not exclude that much one another. Combining the two perspective in a creative way may result in a strong, effective and powerful solution.
If the contrast is instead based on individuals with different expertises, every one of them should have a role, based on their personal preferences and knowledge so that everyone has a responsibility in which they believe and its proper space and responsibilities. Setting up some space between different skills is the way to integrate people's ideas. Everyone will feel part of the group without overlapping on each other. When the context is nice and there's the right coordination of roles, cooperation emerges and mutual enjoyment fulfills the group.