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  • Kirsten Johnson

Normalizing Conflict: Learnings & Insights

Over the past year we've learned a lot about conflict as we have been working with a number of organizations around normalizing and navigating conflict. In the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing a series of six blog posts. Writing these posts gave us an opportunity to reflect on what we’ve been learning and to share those learnings with you!


Advancing Equity = Leaning Into Conflict

Through our experience we have learned that as we work to shift cultures to become more inclusive, we surface important and hard truths that require us to navigate conflicting ideas and perspectives. We believe in normalizing conflict - conflict is a normal, expected part of any healthy collaborative relationship. We have learned to see conflict as a gift, an opportunity to appreciate diverse perspectives, better understand each other and strengthen our relationships.


As facilitators, our commitment to collective liberation requires us to explicitly name power dynamics, courageously challenge systems of oppression and hold people accountable in ways that surface conflict.


We offer this naming and disruption acting from a place of radical love. That is, a commitment to unlimited grace and unlimited accountability. We recognize that blame and fault are counterproductive and often erode trust, risk-taking and innovation. And we know that a lack of accountability allows unhealthy dynamics and patterns to persist (e.g. white supremacy, sexism, etc.). Building interconnected communities means acknowledging that creating inclusive spaces is different for each of us based on our social location, requiring us to be intentional about not centering white fragility, male privilege, etc. We invite the participants we work with into the messy both/and space where we lean into discomfort, and act from a place of honesty and courage.




As we’ve supported ourselves and others to lean into conflict, we’ve learned a great deal. Over the coming weeks we’ll be sharing the following lessons:

  • Doing this work requires a toolbox of skills and resources

  • Conflict is cultural

  • Conflict is messy and requires disrupting perfectionism

  • Recognizing power dynamics

  • Cultivating belonging and disrupting us vs. them dynamics

We hope our reflections offer you new insights or provide affirmation as you navigate the very normal occurrence of conflict that arises as we seek to connect across difference and build a world that works for everyone.


Sindy, Nou & Kirsten


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