Stephen Woodring

Paper and Presentation: Avoid Becoming Accidental Adversaries While Building Stronger Coalitions

Abstract: Climate change, substance abuse, and terrorism. These global issues affect us all regardless of demographics or social status, uniting or polarizing us. No issue in this environment, big or small, can be solved by one person or one organization alone. Reaching a common, complex goal thus requires tremendous planning in conjunction with collective, sustained, and coordinated action.

When an issue feels large or insurmountable, hostilities arise despite shared intentions. The term “accidental adversaries” describes the process when two or more parties working together suddenly fall out of alignment. Problems arise when one or both parties are not satisfied with current progress and subsequently take corrective measures that unintentionally obstruct the success of the other party. Parties begin to look at each other as competitors instead of allies despite their original intention of working together.

Adversarial behavior manifests in a few ways – individuals getting weighed down by the minutiae or becoming overly consumed with taking credit for positive results while quickly placing blame on others.

Accidental adversaries are common and create unnecessary roadblocks. This session will inform how parties can come together to tackle some of the world’s most complex problems. This session will review the three conversations that will prompt healthy change: how groups can work through the clutter to get a clear picture of the problem; gaining alignment around a common vision; and focusing resources on the fewest, most important initiatives to achieve the desired outcome.

PMI Talent Triangle: Leadership

Biography: Stephen Woodring is an engaging strategy and change management consultant with nine years of stakeholder engagement and communications experience. He advises leaders seeking to leverage emerging technologies on how to address their complex and changing organizational needs. Mr. Woodring provides his clients direct support in the design of strategies, messaging, and products for data-driven and IT transformation projects, particularly in the acquisition and procurement function—resulting in improved leadership alignment, adoption, and advocacy from diverse stakeholder groups.d