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066: How to Guide Teams Through Conflictual Conversations with Marcus Crow

How to Guide Teams Through Conflictual Conversations with Marcus Crow

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Teeth gnashing, fists waving, pulses racing… Conflict conjures up a certain image in many people’s minds.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

In fact, conflict can be one of the most powerful tools we have to drive meaningful change.

In this episode of workshops work, I speak with Marcus Crow, co-founder of 10,000 HOURS and specialist in high stakes facilitation, about his brilliant approach to diving headfirst into conflict in a way that puts safety and growth at the heart of the discussion.

Whether you’re the kind of facilitator who avoids conflict at all costs or loves to embrace it, Marcus shares such a breadth of great ideas and insights from his own facilitation practice that there is something in this episode for everyone.

  • Why the dominant narrative in management prevents meaningful change
  • How Marcus helps teams face up to their conflicts whilst fostering an environment of safety
  • What we can learn from ‘low stakes’ conflicts and how we can use these situations as practice for bigger conflicts
  • How Marcus helps his clients ‘depathologise’ conflict
  • Why Marcus believes a ‘Royal College of Facilitation’ would help advance our industry

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Questions and Answers 


[01:11] When did you first start calling yourself a facilitator?

[02:55] If you were a hashtag, what would you be?

[05:03] How do you help groups benefit from their collective intelligence?

[07:43] Can managers be facilitators for their own teams?

[10:40] Do we need 10,000 hours to become a facilitator?

[14:29] How do you prepare yourself for ‘high stakes’ facilitation in settings with lots of localised context?

[21:04] What is the difference between standing at the front of the room and being in the room?

[26:00] How do you confront the group and its conflict?

[28:48] What does it mean to conflict safely?

[31:29] Do you see replicable patterns between high stakes and low stakes conflict?

[38:48] What makes a workshop fail?

[45:24] What about the facilitation ‘industry’ are you opposed to?

[52:28] If someone fell asleep at the start of our conversation, what is the one thing you’d like them to take away?


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