Improved Communication and Resolved Conflicts in Business Relationships

Dr. Joost van Boeschoten is a Principal Consultant at Contrasticon B.V., a consulting firm based in the Netherlands, specializing in inter-company collaboration between IT customers and suppliers. Contrasticon B.V. helps customers and suppliers of IT services realizing successful collaboration, at consecutive phases in the life cycle of a customer/supplier relationship, such as:

  • At the start of a new relationship, by making fundamental choices and implementation of appropriate collaboration mechanisms and behavior;
  • Ongoing; care & cure through IT Conflict Prevention;
  • When results stay behind expectations; by analysis and corrective interventions;
  • If friction and conflict arises; conflict resolution and mediation.

The Problem

Conflicts in business relationships often end up in court. A less costly alternative can be mediation, saving on the cost of legal support while avoiding negative publicity because mediation is strictly confidential. However, mediation can also be a tricky process; the outcome is not guaranteed, and parties usually have to deal with a fuzzy mix of business and individual interests, emotional undercurrents, confusing complex details regarding contracts and delivery of services and products, and different perspectives between parties on the cause and nature of the conflict.

The Solution

Using iMindQ mind mapping software as a facilitation tool helps a great deal to get a grip on conflicts between parties. A skilled mediator leads the conversation and negotiation between parties while building a mind map containing the main messages and insights from the discussion. The mind map is projected on a large screen behind the mediator, as the focal point for all participants, who actively engage in creating the mind map as a shared image of the conflict. Working within a template the conversation progresses in a natural manner from issues and concerns, through understanding problems and root causes, to solutions and agreement. iMindQ is used to establish solid mind mapping results by providing the following benefits:

  • Mind mapping is a self-documenting process; parties receive intermediate mind maps as a confidential record of the session;
  • Very strong editing options and export to Word or PowerPoint (important for quick transition to agreements);
  • Convenient whiteboard space to use aside from the mind mapping space, to create free-format diagrams supporting the main structured analysis.

The Outcome

Contrasticon B.V. regularly provides greater resolutions to conflicts with business clients by using iMindQ and mind mapping through the following key benefits:

  • Improved communication
  • Simplified presentation of complex information
  • Transparent and fair process
  • Fast, cost efficient conflict resolution
  • Solid outcome, accepted by all parties
  • Repaired business relationship and solid settlement