Alumni Profile: Lydie Roman

The Negotiation & Conflict Resolution master’s program was a remarkable experience professionally and intellectually. As someone in a senior human resources role, the program put in context and gave me a broader perspective on the tools available to diagnose and handle many of the challenges that organizations face, particularly on the leadership front.

In business, the competing internal priorities that often incite zero-sum competition within the organization frequently escalate into latent or palpable conflict in boardrooms. I got to witness this first hand and noticed how much time and energy was spent on the calculations that people engage in, whether by attacking somebody else’s ideas, delaying making decisions, or engaging in undermining tactics that erode business strategy. I’ve seen senior leaders, including division presidents, struggle with how to tackle this issue with their peers without compromising their positions, or rein in their direct reports without alienating their “rain makers.”

I wanted to learn how to facilitate those critical conversations that would position leaders to focus on the health of the entire organization instead of their own individual areas or lines of business. The combination of theory, skills and practice, the deep experience of the faculty, and the immediate applicability of the concepts to my work environment, helped me to better assess the best approach to reach alignment and consensus.