Dr. Dana Morris-Jones’ newly published book, The Power of Difference: From Conflict to Collaboration in Five Steps, introduces a model that anyone can use to profoundly impact the way that organizations resolve differences and shift cultures from damaging, self-serving competition to success-sustaining collaboration.
Organizations sustain huge losses—tangible and intangible—due to poorly managed and often destructive conflict. Differences themselves, when approached constructively, have the power to be beneficial, both to the groups and individuals involved, and to the organization as a whole. Many factors contribute to the proliferation and complexity of the kinds of differences that arise in organizations today. Simplistic approaches to complex issues need to be replaced with shifts in cultural norms, mindsets, tools, and skills that can capitalize on the richness of different views and perspectives to create solutions that drive success.
Dr. Morris-Jones’ pragmatic approach draws on more than forty years of knowledge and experience in organization development, social psychology, and conflict resolution, bringing together both time-tested and relatively new theoretical bases for constructive processes to resolving organizational differences. The five-step process is outlined in clear language and accompanied by real case illustrations that make it understandable and user friendly. Here is the Table of Contents.
Anyone who works in an organization, is invested in the success of that organization, and who wishes to improve skills in resolving differences and enhance his/her own performance and contribution, will benefit from the model taught in this book.
It is also of benefit to professionals who are in the best position to assist individuals in organizations, i.e. educators, OD professionals (internal or external), HR professionals, mediators, coaches, and trainers, as well as the leaders and managers who are frequently called upon to help others and who are concerned with achieving business and organization results.
Dr. Morris-Jones is now scheduling keynotes, presentations and workshops on The Power of Difference for your organization or association.
This book could save you from a career limiting-mistake and it might keep your organization from going off the rails. Dana Morris-Jones provides a way to a safe haven should a storm of conflict threaten your work. In this concise manual, she has brought together conflict resolution methodology with the deep understanding of organizational dynamics developed from many years of consulting. You will recognize yourself in their case studies and examples. To enhance your own performance, keep it on your desk for ready reference. And, for better organizational results, train your people in the practical, 5 step method so clearly outlined here.
~ David Kiel, Ph.D.
Leadership Coordinator, Center for Faculty Excellence
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
I was amazed at how clearly this approach to conflict resolution described the types of management challenges I faced as the leader of a group of safety professionals. Not only did I see familiar problems, but I also saw the application of familiar tools and techniques. The key value of this new management guide is the framework and 5 step process for making them work effectively. As I look back on those office conflicts, I wish I had this framework at the ready. I totally recommend this approach to managers who are blessed to work with today’s bright and outspoken emerging leaders.
~ James Jaeger
Someone once said, “With our words we create worlds.” Indeed Dana Morris-Jones gives us the words and a process for creating a new world out of the conflicts and differences that exist in many organizations. Dana Morris-Jones is, “Spot On!” and clearly articulates a critical and incredibly doable and durable approach for executives, managers and supervisors who want to elevate team function, work collaboratively and increase productivity. If you are looking for a new and fresh approach to dealing with conflict in your organization you won’t be disappointed.
Dana Morris-Jones’ The Power of Difference” is an exceptional guide to addressing conflict in organizations. In some respects, it is a comprehensive synthesis of what we have learned over the past 40 plus years about creating productive outcomes from problematic situations; hence, the term “guide” is a good descriptor of her work.
As an advocate of systematic approaches to solving problems I give it the highest grades particularly in the context of her emphasis on the practical over the ideal. The amount of corporate capital that can be expended on any issue has to be dearly weighed against its impact on the organization and its tractability. It is a truism that not all issues can be resolved and the approach advocated in her guide will quickly help determine the value of various levels of investment in resolving a particular conflict.
One cannot undervalue her emphasis at the outset of “understanding the situation” (a slightly larger opening than the traditional “understanding the problem”). As a believer in her Einstein cite when “given an hour to solve a problem, I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem …,” this forces one to give some attention to the environmental factors beyond the problem itself.
This book contains a plethora of excellent material organized in a near checklist format and summarized in succinct table at the end. A careful reading of the text will provide practical insights that can be used to address many diverse organizational situations and perhaps even to some knotty interpersonal issues.
In a course I provided for the leadership of a large Federal agency that built on early versions of some of her references, one of the participants came to me two weeks after the course and said, “It saved my marriage.” This book can do a lot more.
~ John R. Powers
Dr. Morris-Jones has hit the nail on the head with this book!
She has brought together over 30 years of professional experience in conflict management and organizational development (and common sense) into an excellent read and a set of practical tools that anyone can apply in their personal or professional lives. I use her recommended techniques/methods in my own practice and I can highly recommend them. .
She weaves ‘real life’ stories into her book that make it easy for the reader to connect to our own world!
~ Patrick Sullivan
Dana Morris-Jones’ The Power of Difference is a highly readable and truly useful tool for anyone in any organization. When reading the book, I felt like I was in a personalized coaching session receiving practical and concrete ways for dealing with workplace differences. Her approach to step back, reflect, assess, and then agree on how to move forward with implementing an achievable plan is crucial to collaborating effectively and productively. This book is essential reading for anyone who works with other people!
~ Sally M.