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Published by: International Institute for Management Development (IMD)
Originally published in: "Perspectives for Managers", 2004
Version: 0

Abstract

This perspective for managers explains that many conflict situations arise from miscommunication between people who have different ways of seeing the same thing. The most frequent response to differences is to downplay them: 'The differences are minor and unimportant, let’s focus on the areas people have in common.' People know that focusing only on differences usually leads to a negative spiral of blame and distrust. However, focusing only on commonalities just gets to the lowest common denominator. It provides mediocre results, not high performance. The Map-Bridge-Integrate process uses an objective assessment of differences and similarities as input for an ongoing dialogue. In this dialogue, original areas of commonality serve as the foundation for discussing differences, and new areas of commonality are built. Mapping, bridging and integrating must work together. Performance comes from integrating, but integrating cannot happen without bridging. In fact, according to the research, good bridging almost always leads to good integrating. If someone gets bridging right, this person will almost certainly get integrating and the accompanying performance. Bridging, in turn, rests on good mapping. Maps provide the objective input for building bridges; both the attitudes and the skills. The MBI process cannot be put in place with policies. It is a set of skills that must be practiced and learned over time. The good news is that even a little bit of MBI brings an improvement in performance and people tend to see quick results in their interactions. In today’s economic environment, every leader needs to accomplish more with the human resources he or she has. Map-Bridge-Integrate is a good set of practices to achieve that goal.

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Abstract

This perspective for managers explains that many conflict situations arise from miscommunication between people who have different ways of seeing the same thing. The most frequent response to differences is to downplay them: 'The differences are minor and unimportant, let’s focus on the areas people have in common.' People know that focusing only on differences usually leads to a negative spiral of blame and distrust. However, focusing only on commonalities just gets to the lowest common denominator. It provides mediocre results, not high performance. The Map-Bridge-Integrate process uses an objective assessment of differences and similarities as input for an ongoing dialogue. In this dialogue, original areas of commonality serve as the foundation for discussing differences, and new areas of commonality are built. Mapping, bridging and integrating must work together. Performance comes from integrating, but integrating cannot happen without bridging. In fact, according to the research, good bridging almost always leads to good integrating. If someone gets bridging right, this person will almost certainly get integrating and the accompanying performance. Bridging, in turn, rests on good mapping. Maps provide the objective input for building bridges; both the attitudes and the skills. The MBI process cannot be put in place with policies. It is a set of skills that must be practiced and learned over time. The good news is that even a little bit of MBI brings an improvement in performance and people tend to see quick results in their interactions. In today’s economic environment, every leader needs to accomplish more with the human resources he or she has. Map-Bridge-Integrate is a good set of practices to achieve that goal.

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