Magazine article New Zealand Management

NZIM - Conflict Management : TetraMap's Mirror Image - Conflict & Diversity; the New Zealand Institute of Management Is Working with Auckland-Based Behavioural Consultancy TetraMap to Enhance the Effectiveness of NZIM Training and Development Programmes. TetraMap Founders Yoshimi and Jon Brett Talk about Their Approach to Reducing Conflict in Organisations

Magazine article New Zealand Management

NZIM - Conflict Management : TetraMap's Mirror Image - Conflict & Diversity; the New Zealand Institute of Management Is Working with Auckland-Based Behavioural Consultancy TetraMap to Enhance the Effectiveness of NZIM Training and Development Programmes. TetraMap Founders Yoshimi and Jon Brett Talk about Their Approach to Reducing Conflict in Organisations

Article excerpt

Byline: Reg Birchfield

Like many of life's "ah ha" moments, the underpinning of Yoshimi and Jon Brett's TetraMap behavioural model is rooted in life fundamentals and natural simplicity. It owes something to ancient Chinese philosophy, more to the clarity of the brilliant mind of designer, architect and innovator Buckminster Fuller, and the rest to their personal observation of the behaviours of people employed by the organisations to which they consulted, over 18 years.

The Bretts discovered early in their consulting careers that personal conflict was a major contributor to organisational waste and blighted progress. That understanding prompted them to seek an explanation and provide a simple but powerful metaphor to explain why conflict is so pervasive and integral to human nature. If they could explain the nature of behaviour, minds could perhaps be opened to more positive possibilities, they reasoned.

The extension of their thinking soon revealed that the critical issue in conflict understanding and resolution, one that challenges not just organisations but whole communities and countries today, is diversity. "When you can open up people's minds to the value of people's differences and understand why individuals are different and why those differences annoy them, that conflict invariably disappears," says Jon Brett.

Yoshimi started out using established personality profiling techniques to search for explanations as to why we are like we are. Companies used various psychometric models which attempted to put "people into boxes so they could understand them better". What Yoshimi wanted, however, was to "make the learning enjoyable, accessible, reasonably priced and applicable across all levels of the organisational hierarchy".

The Bretts understood the value and importance of diversity, but the word held little organisational pulling power. "It didn't seem to mean anything. Until one experiences the huge value and benefits that come with diversity, it doesn't seem to register," says Jon Brett. "But the phrase 'reducing conflict' does register and it is just the reverse. In order to reduce conflict, you have to value diversity." So their pitch to the market changed. The emphasis swung to explaining the nature of the problem and enlightenment about how to resolve it follows. Out of this rationale, TetraMap was born.

So while reducing conflict is TetraMap's core marketing message, the Bretts' real focus is "to help people work more inter-dependently, and to accomplish that, organisations must value diversity".

TetraMap is a behavioural model that uses nature as a metaphor, mapping people's 'nature' on a tetrahedron using the four elements of earth, air, water and fire as personal descriptors. In that respect it is a mind-shifter, replacing the more traditional positive and negative language of, for example, "submissive" or "compliant" personalities.

The metaphor is driven out into a wide range of applications from the nature of individual behaviour that offers insights into personal development, communication and relationships, leadership, change and conflict resolution to programmes on the nature of team strategies, planning and sales and service.

It is a non-prescriptive model. "We try to provoke creativity," says Jon Brett. "You don't get answers. We don't tell you what the solution is. …

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