I have recently learned that providing three ideas on a topic and approaching the topic from three different angles is an optimum way to share information and for others to optimally take away key points.  With that in mind I am offering you three models related to conflict resolution. Hopefully one of these will help you when you are in conflict with someone else.  Read about all three and then pick out what works best for you. Try it. Practice it. See if this might work for you. If not try another alternative. Do what works for you.

The three methods in a nutshell

The three methods are FIFI, IROD, and CLE. These are each briefly introduced and then elaborated on below.

FIFI stands or Fact, Issues, Feelings, and Interests. Questions area asked around all four areas to that the parties can work together to come up with a solution that works for them. This is often used in mediations. Here is an example with staff members.

IROD stands for Information, Reactions, Options, and Decisions. Although the method is used for leaders with applications in management, upon reflection this makes sense to use in any situation including in conflict resolution.

CLE stands for connecting, listening, and educating. You want to develop connecting relationship, listen actively, and educate judiciously in order to build relationships and negotiate closure. Now let’s take a look at all three methods in a little more detail.


The questions associated with FIFI are:

What are the facts?

What are the issues?

What is the feeling associated with each issue?

What are your interests going forward?

In terms of the facts, you have your perspective. Can you separate facts from inferences and inuendo? You may want to write these out to differentiate facts, from perceptions. What are the facts from the other party’s perspective?  If you view this as an opportunity to learn rather than to argue, you might be surprised at what you may learn.

What are the various issues from your perspective? What do you think they are from the other party’s perspective? Maybe it would be helpful to write these down.

Exploring the various interests, are some more important to you than others?  Perhaps you can put them in a priority order. Are some more important from your perspective and should be addressed first because others will follow if you can address this big issues first. Give this some thought.

Finally, what are your and their interests going forward.

What would you like to have happen? 

What do you think they would like to have happen? Given the facts, issues, feeling about the issues, and your interests, can you see some solutions that you think may work going forward? With this information you may be able to reach out the other party and have a discussion.  If there is too much animosity between you and the other party maybe you may need to bring on board another neutral third person (a mediator) to help mediate between you and the other party.


IROD stems from a book written by Dr. David Webb entitled Homerun Leadership, Your Guide to Better  Faster Team Decisions.  

Dr. Webb  uses this approach to help leaders manage better with an analogy associated with the four bases in baseball.

First base is obtaining the information. Second base is exploring your and other’s reaction to the information. Third base is developing options of what could work. Home plate is deciding and going forward. I like this model for conflict resolution too. It causes you to ensure you addressed all four areas in a sequence that makes sense and that you can remember.  You can apply this not only to conflicts, but to leadership in general.


CLE stems from the book The Collaboration Effect: Overcoming Your Conflicts by Michael A. Gregory.  The collaboration effect is all about Connecting relationships, Listening actively, and Educating judiciously in order to build bridges and negotiate closure. Expanding on FIFI from above the collaboration effect involves developing authentic connecting relationships. If you are in conflict with someone else the first step maybe to de-escalate the situation and to find areas in common with one another focusing on values you have in common and ways you can relate to each other interpersonally. What are things you have in common and where you can both relate to each other?

Once you have established an authentic relationship so that you can speak with one another, listen. Really listen

Take at least 10 minutes to listen actively.

That is paraphrase, ask open ended questions (not yes/no questions) summarize, suspend judgment, empathize, and do not offer advice.  It is hard to suspend judgment and to not offer advice. Knowing this you may want to practice listening with someone else prior to trying to apply this with your first experience in a conflict. Continually think about what else should I be asking? You are here to learn and to understand. Once someone has been listened to, they are more receptive to listening to you.

Once you have developed an authentic relationship and you have listened to them, you will have a better understanding of how to educate them judiciously. About 70% of people are visual learners. Once you understand where the other person is coming from it will be easier for you to decide how to reach out to them.  You want to reach out to them with the areas where you can agree on and celebrate these elements with each other. On the areas where you do not have agreement reflect back on FIFI from above and you might be surprised how far you have come once you have applied CLE.


As a mediator I apply FIFI on a regular basis business to business, business to government, and within businesses. This works well in these environments.  For new managers in particular IROD has a place for developing leadership skills and may often help with more common areas of disagreement working towards consensus with your team. CLE is an outgrowth of FIFI that can often have a very positive impact related to conflict, because it requires a pause to develop a relationship with the other party and to listen to the other party without judgment before you offer what you want to share. The process often causes you to reframe your perspective once you understand where the other party is coming from.

Consider all three methods.  Given a situation, try out what you think may work for you. Realize that like anything this takes practice.  Be patient. Don’t blame yourself or others. Learn from the experience. Be patient and keep trying. That is how we overcome frustrations and become better. Good luck.

About the author

Mike Gregory is a professional speaker, an author, and a mediator. You may contact Mike directly at mg@mikegreg.com and at (651) 633-5311. Mike has written 12 books (and co-authored two others) including his latest book, The Collaboration Effect: Overcoming Your Conflicts, and The Servant Manager, Business Valuations and the IRS, and Peaceful Resolutions that you may find helpful. [Michael Gregory, ASA, CVA, MBA, Qualified Mediator with the Minnesota Supreme Court]