Finding Common Ground

People can disagree about almost anything from the best strategic direction for a company to individual disagreements about political views and values. These disagreements can take the form of office politics, political maneuvering, or public policy problems. In a professional setting, differences of opinion can impede progress and stall work productivity. The question remains: How do you make progress when working with people who disagree with you—even when it seems practically impossible?

In this course, Batten Assistant Professor of Public Policy Andrew S. Pennock will help you gain a more nuanced understanding of how to overcome disagreements, how to approach those who hold different opinions and views, and how to influence others.

Some of the biggest obstacles to progress lie in how people approach a discussion, structure their messages, and view those who hold different opinions. In “Finding Common Ground,” you will learn how to frame your messages to appeal to people whose opinions otherwise seem non-negotiable, and make progress on even the most divisive issues.

The Batten School is unique in its approach to public policy by virtue of its focus on leadership. The world-class faculty have won university-level and international teaching awards, and are recognized as experts in decision-making, gender and racial diversity, conflict resolution, influence, negotiations, interpersonal dynamics, ethics, and humanitarian affairs.

Upon completion of the course, participants will receive a record of participation. 

Course Schedule

Morning: Understanding the Conflict/Problem

Session 1: Understanding Conflict and Why Conflict Gets Exacerbated

In this session, participants will learn how to better diagnosis and frame the conflict they see in their organizations. By differentiating between leadership and authority, participants can make progress on understanding the conflict within their organizations when they adapt to new challenges. 

Session 2: Why People are Immune to Change

Conflict often occurs because other people or the organizations we are a part of, fail to live up their aspirations and promises. In this session, participants will work through an example from their own life where they are unable to realize their stated goals. They will then apply the principles of change management to understand the persistent and frustrating failures causing conflicts in their organizations. 

Lunch with Batten School Dean Ian H. Solomon
Lunch will be provided.

Afternoon: Solutions

Session 3: Understanding each Party’s Interests Versus Positions

In this session, participants will frame the problem that is driving the conflict they are experiencing. By placing the problem and the work at center of their leadership challenge, participants will move beyond identifying stakeholder groups in the organization to focus on factions that span stakeholder groups. Naming and understanding these factions will help participants to look for the values and loyalties preventing progress on the problem. 

Session 4: Speaking across the Conflict Divide 

In this session participants will identify strategies for speaking across the factions and enabling the organization to begin to make progress on the problem. Participants learn different strategies for effectively speaking into conflict based on where they fall in the hierarchy of an organization and the level of conflict surrounding the issue. 

Virtual Classroom
It is possible to attend this class virtually. Please contact us directly at least two weeks in advance if this is an option you would like to consider. We will not consider additional virtual attendees after October 13th, 2019.

Cancellations made within 14 calendar days of the start date will incur a fee equal to 50% of the published program cost. Withdrawals within 7 days of the start of the program are subject to forfeiture of the total program cost. 

Contact Information