Rated 9⭐ out of 10 by ~90 attendees
We worked with a leading ecommerce webshop in the Netherlands, known for their massive assortment, extensive supplier network, and lightning fast shipping. To help their commercial department thrive in an unpredictable market, they asked Neurofied to help them create a culture of continuous improvement through constructive conflict among 90 of their retail leaders and managers.
In this case study, you will read about our evidence-based change training in ecommerce for our anonymized client. We can easily adapt the masterclass and workshops to your unique team, organization, or industry.
“Inspiring insights about constructive conflict in brain & behavior and concrete tactics to bring it into practice.”
– Project manager retail
Being a market leader, our client was among the first to notice a decline in the retail market following the COVID-19 crisis and other geopolitical events. Knowing that their external environment will be increasingly hard to predict, they sought to create solutions in their internal environment by focusing on the development of skills and capabilities of their people.
Research has shown that a culture of constructive conflict is an important predictor for better decisions, better execution, and better performance. Together, we set out to kickstart this culture with a full-day masterclass and workshops to drive constructive conflict.
The evidence-based change training in ecommerce consisted of two parts, a plenary masterclass and three rotating workshops to implement interventions that drive constructive conflict.
In the plenary masterclass, the commercial leaders took a deep dive in understanding how conflict, sharpness, and safety work in the brain, and gained a practical toolkit that helped them orchestrate constructive conflict in a safe environment.
In the second part, we ran three rotating workshops aimed at applying solution-specific interventions to three challenges of constructive conflict.
We brought three Neurofied facilitators and in co-creation with our client, provided slides and hand-outs for each of the co-facilitators and attendees in the workshop.
“My favorite part was having dialogue and debate with colleagues that you don’t see every day or have never spoken to before.”
– Retail leader
By the end of the session, we had designed and applied three actionable solutions to creating constructive conflict.
1. Driving quality debate and exploring avenues before key decisions
Where tactics like the devil’s advocate often fail due to a lack of genuine dissent, a red-blue team intervention is guaranteed to result in quality debate and exploring different standpoints. For the first workshop, we split the participants into a red and blue team and challenged them to argue for opposite perspectives on a difficult decision. Under guidance of the facilitator, (also one of the attendants) both teams pitched their arguments and aimed to identify flaws in the opposite side. They ended up with an exhaustive list of arguments in favor of and against the statement plus an overview of potential solutions that help satisfy multiple needs.
2. Designing habits for sharpness and action oriented behavior
To promote sharpness and critical thinking that result in clear actions, we challenged the stakeholders to construct and role-model if-then plans. In the second workshop, we challenged all stakeholders to identify prompts (the if-conditions) on the workfloor and link them to specific behaviors that embody sharpness and critical thinking. For example: If I notice that we have too many agenda points for the meeting, then I will say let’s focus on 3 core points. We then voted on the top 3 if-then plans that will be implemented throughout the commercial department.
3. Creating the conditions for trust and psychological safety to keep conflict constructive
As important as they are, tension and sharpness will not result in positive outcomes in environments that lack trust and safety. In practice, however, this can mean something wildly different for every organization. To clearly define and operationalize trust and safety, we invited the participants in the third workshop to engage in a structured dialogue on these topics. Using conversation tools like the five whys, they identified the root causes that create a culture of trust and safety in their organization and how to ensure conflict remains constructive and doesn’t result in emotional damage.
Having equipped their commercial leadership with a toolkit of evidence-based practices and interventions that will help them create a culture of constructive conflict and speaking up, our client will start scaling these solutions across their organization. Behavioral change is a process of constant testing, iteration, and improvement. With the right tools and strategies in place, they are set up for success.
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