Policies, Procedures, and Painful Fridays

There’s a woman in an office next to me listening to a ‘webinar’ on ‘conflict management’. She’s started by outlining some ‘policy statements’ that describe ‘standardized’ ‘processes’ for dealing with ‘constructive’ and destructive’ conflicts. In the 5-10 minutes that followed, she described the difference(s) between ‘constructive’ and ‘destructive’ conflict.

This raised several questions for me:

1. How many people are listening to this seemingly useless ‘webinar’? Lets say that there are 25 people listening at the moment. That’s 25 hours of wasted corporate time. 25 hours! That’s the equivalent of more than 3 days of person-time! If all of these people (mostly managers, I presume) are making $30 an hour, that’s $750 – down the drain – provided the ‘webinar’ only lasts an hour.

2. Who is the person giving this ‘webinar’. How does one become an expert in ‘constructive’ and ‘destructive’ conflict management? Did becoming an expert in this field fulfill some sort of lifelong dream of this person?

3. Does a person who gives ‘webinars’ on ‘constructive’ and ‘destructive’ conflict management have actual dreams and goals like the rest of us? Did she grow up always wanting to become an expert in conflict management? Flying around the world giving ‘webinars’ and writing ‘whitepapers’? Did she ever want to be a famous singer or tennis player or figure skater? Does she live with a constant sense of disappointment that she *isn’t* a famous figure skater? Or is she famous already in another realm – ‘constructive’ and ‘destructive’ conflict management?

4. And finally, if this woman arrived at the position of expert in conflict management policies and processes somehow serendipitously, how can I avoid suffering the same fate?