What Jurassic Park can teach us about conflict resolution

Okay, so by now, you know I’m a bit of a geek.  I love a good bit of sci-fi or horror.  Many years ago, I sat down one lunchtime to read a book called Jurassic Park, little knowing that said book was about to be made into one of the highest-grossing films of all time.  I have seen all of them (including the not-so-good sequels and the very latest one).  I remember sitting in the cinema for that very first one, spilling popcorn everywhere as I jumped out of my skin when the velociraptors and T-Rex were on the hunt!

Well, Jurassic Park sequels are more than just a good time. Along with the amazing beasts and scary chases, you can pick up valuable lessons on conflict resolution.

After all, some negotiating principles are the same, whether you’re trying to agree on how to outrun a pack of raptors or install a new computer system. Try these tips that have been helping to settle differences since the last ice age.

I apologise for any spoilers for those who haven’t seen the films, but where have you been all this time?!

Gain Trust

When will InGen learn? They keep bringing in meaner mercenaries and bigger weapons when the dinosaurs rebel against being pushed around. Treating others with respect helps to prevent conflicts.

  1. Listen closely. Start by paying attention to what others have to say. Trying to understand their position will help you find common ground. Ask relevant questions and restate what others say to ensure you’re on the same page.
  2. Share information. Show others that you’re willing to trust them by being transparent. Disclose as much as you can about pertinent facts and your own motivation.
  3. Offer compromises. You’ll enjoy deeper satisfaction and create more stability if you search for solutions that each party can feel good about. Be willing to let go of some things you want if it helps the group.
  4. Stay calm. Anger and blame interfere with progress. Take a break if you need to cool off. You can assert your needs while being civil and tactful. Staying cool helps you to look more confident and capable.

Reach Out for Help

When you’re having a friendly argument with an Indominus Rex, you might need to call in someone with more teeth. With a little luck, you’ll be able to find team members who are less unruly than a T-Rex.

  1. Collaborate with others. Cooperating is more productive than choosing sides. Think about the good qualities of others even when you disagree with them.
  2. Consult experts. Impartial observers and skilled negotiators may help you uncover new options if you’re at an impasse. A fresh set of eyes can remind you that there are usually many solutions to a challenge if you’re flexible and creative.
  3. Express gratitude. Think of conflicts as opportunities to grow instead of feeling threatened. Thank the other participants for their efforts to help move things forward.

Accept Reality

Conflicts often start when we care more about getting what we want instead of facing the truth or considering the welfare of others. If you can’t control ordinary dinosaurs, you’re probably going to run into trouble if you genetically modify them to become bigger and scarier.  I mean, really, who would actually do that?!!!

  1. Delay gratification. Having the patience to work for your future self and the greater good is the key to happiness and success. Shrug off temporary disappointments and setbacks as long as you stay true to your major objectives.
  2. Aim for realistic goals. Ambitious targets can be inspiring as long as they’re still within reach. Make the most of your resources by sticking to projects that allow you to deliver results. Others will be more likely to support you if they see that you have an impressive track record.
  3. Set priorities. You must pick your battles even when you have a valid case. Keep your eye on the big picture. Ask yourself if you’d rather prove you’re right or hold onto an important relationship.

Dinosaurs ruled the earth for a lot longer than humans have been around, so it makes sense that they might know something about how to live peacefully with each other. Face conflicts head-on and work together to develop agreements that stand up to the test of time.

Deborah Cripps