It is commonplace for conflict to arise during the stressful period of goal setting or planning. Having to create plans with no definite
indicator of the end result can make individuals quite nervous.
Conflict arises here because of each individuals belief that they possess the knowledge of 'what works'. And this may be true. However, disregarding the fact that ones colleague may have something valuable to contribute as well is the spark that eventually will result in a blaze. A whole conference room of individuals thinking in this manner will light up many sparks that will further contribute to this blaze.
An important aspect of goal setting or planning should be setting ground rules. this should be right at the beginning of the planning session and applicable to all subsequent sessions .
The group must collaboratively come up with rules they all agree should be followed by all members of the group. They can be quite simple, like " Respect Others Opinions" or "Only One Person Will Speak At A Time" . This is common knowledge, but having it said and putting it up on a chart somewhere in the room serves as a constant reminder of what needs to be followed.
Another important aspect is taking breaks. Very often, the task at hand consumes everyone around and it may become suffocating to some extent. Individuals begin to snap at their colleagues or lash out. Hence it is important to take breaks to avoid such situations. All members of the team will come back feeling refreshed and may have different perspectives that they can then lend to the discussion.
Finally , the most important aspect to avoid conflict is to remember that everyone is working towards a common goal. It is easy for some people to feel cut off and reiterating the goal that everyone is working to serves to form a more cohesive group that will result in a more enriched planning experience.