The Engineering Leadership Podcast · Episode 74

Conflict Optimization

with Jordan Adler

Mar 01, 2022
Conflict is a necessary part of the job. So how can you transform conflict to be collaborative, not competitive? Jordan Adler (Head of Dev Eng @ OneSignal) previews his conflict optimization workshop taking place at our 2022 Spring Virtual Summit! Jordan shares some of the main sources of conflict in eng teams, how to uncover underlying needs, shift people from entrenched positions & other frameworks to create an optimal environment for healthy conflict.
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ABOUT JORDAN ADLER

Jordan M. Adler (@jordanmadler) is the Head of Developer Engineering at OneSignal, where he drives the cutting edge of cross-platform customer engagement messaging APIs & SDKs. Previously, Jordan evolved Engineering Productivity at Cruise, led API Platform engineering at Pinterest, and was a Strategic Partner Engineer and Developer Advocate at Google, where he managed technical partnerships between major organizations and Google.

“Looking at the conflict in particular, how do we switch from 'positions' to 'interests?'

Right. So how do we take away from... ‘Hey, this is what I want, this is what you want.’

To... ‘This is the reason that I have a particular want. And this is the reason that you have a particular want. And if we have clarity together, collectively on what those interests are, then we can collaboratively work towards a solution.’"

- Jordan Adler   


SHOW NOTES:

  • Conflict optimization vs. conflict resolution (2:33)
  • Engineering leaders need to embrace conflict (4:34)
  • Conflict is necessary for collaboration (5:52)
  • What creates conflict in engineering teams? (8:32)
  • A real example of conflict optimization (10:31)
  • How conflict optimization leads to better decisions (13:21)
  • Using conflict as constraints to produce better solutions (15:24)
  • How to optimize a conflict (17:38)
  • Switching from "positions" to "interests" (20:26)
  • Uncovering the underlying emotional needs in a conflict (23:24)
  • How to use words that convey curiosity and not emotional violence (25:58)
  • Why video calls are key to conflict resolution in remote work (28:55)
  • How to practice conflict optimization - a preview of Jordan’s workshop during ELC’s Spring Summit 2022 (35:27)
  • Ways to avoid conflict in the first place (37:15)
  • Rapid Fire Questions (38:49)
  • Takeaways (42:24)

LINKS AND RESOURCES

  • Jordan’s website: https://jmadler.dev/
  • (book) Conscious Business by Fred Kofman - Jerry’s favorite book
  • (link) David Anderson Hooker - conflict transformation source Jordan referenced
  • (link) Diana Francis - conflict transformation source Jordan referenced
  • (link) Non-violent communication & Dr. Marshall Roseberg
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