“How could conflict possibly be good for a business?” Conflict is not good or bad, or something that we can guard against like the flu. Conflict is a natural part of human behavior and a necessary part of teamwork, innovation, problem-solving, and change. What we do with the opposing ideas or needs that we call conflict can result in positive or negative outcomes, depending on how we handle them.Read More
Important Topics on Harnessing the Power of Conflict
- Building Great Teams 23
- Conflict Data Points 9
- Conflict Tools 37
- Conflict in the Workplace 19
- Costs & Value of Conflict 3
- Culture and Conflict 10
- Difficult Conversations 6
- Groupthink 5
- Innovation and Conflict 16
- Mediation 10
- Mergers and Acquisitions 4
- Ombudsman 4
- Productive Workplace 11
- Teamwork 9
- Trust Building in Teams 12
- Understanding Conflict 20
- World of Conflict 3
Behind most disputes is a system that perpetuates the problem. Uncovering the system will reveal why these negative conflict outcomes keep coming back, and, hopefully, how to fix them for good.
What do we mean by “system?”
Have you ever been on a business team where the same issues seem to arise again and again? You thought you had dealt with the problem by training, shuffling the team, dismissing a person who was obviously at the center of the issue, or simply waiting for it to take care of itself - only to see something similar rear its ugly head a few weeks, months, or even years later.
If this is the case, count on the possibility that something deeper - systemic - is going on within your team or within your workplace. So, the challenge is to get to the root of the problem.Read More
Conflict, when well managed, can breathe life and energy into workplace relationships that inspire more productivity, creativity and innovation. How, as a leader, do you start to create the kind of organizational dynamics that harness the power of constructive conflict? Read on…Read More
It’s not an easy thing to spot - or accept - lack of trust from your team members. Erosion of trust could originate from any number of things: poor workplace policies, unsettling (true or untrue) rumors circulating around, lack of communication from management, disgruntled employee or partner disputes, or an organizational culture that doesn’t value its people.
Whatever the cause, the longer it persists the more difficult it is to rebuild that loss of trust. And the more dangerous it is to an organization’s ability to function successfully. Trust starts with leadership.Read More
Skillfully managed conflict can propel an organization down a path of new opportunities, awareness, innovation and growth. Handled badly, a dispute can quickly cause distraction, raise stress levels, and create barriers to good things like productivity, communications, and creativity.
The literature supports this position; however, only tip-of-the-arrow companies are seeing the value in investing in conflict management training. Is there ROI on an organization’s investment in training and support for the purpose of developing conflict competency skills and systems before a dispute arises?Read More
Let’s just cut to the real question: Why should leadership invest in a retreat?
The quick answer is, they shouldn’t - unless it is going to be a meaningful experience for everyone with well-defined outcomes.
The deeper answer is this: We live in an incredibly busy culture and work environment. This busyness means that lots of things get done. It also means that lots of things get left undone. Important conversations get put on the back burner. Things expressed in yesterday’s conflict get overtaken by today’s crisis or new deadline. Expectations become ignored or dismissed. We lose track of why we’re doing this work.
And, as the old Irish saying goes, “Expectation is just resentment waiting to happen!” The workplace begins to feel stressful, uninspiring, and even pocked with negative conflict. It’s exhausting.
Enter the definition of “retreat:” a quiet or secluded place in which a group of people can reset and think clearly…Read More
Have you ever heard someone say they just love to go to meetings? Nope, I haven’t either. Here is why: You can find pages of advice on running an effective meeting - managing the agenda, the time, side-conversations, papers and reports, pre-defined objectives, concise action steps. Efficient logistically to be sure, but … where is the “human” piece?
The essential purpose of a meeting is to bring a team together to interact, bounce around ideas, discuss, and glean valuable results toward achieving a common goal. If that group is not encouraged to engage and participate, then ideas and interactions don’t surface, and the meeting becomes simply reporting and rehashing.
This is when I ask the question: “Why did you hire this creative, expert talent if you’re not using it?”
Whether it's an operating agreement between startup founders, a safe communications agreement within a team, or ground rules for a project committee -- every team has agreements around how they will work together.
For most teams these agreements are unspoken, unwritten and un-negotiated, nonetheless they become the rules of behavior and are binding on team members. They are "the way things are done around here." They may not be in the policies and procedures manual, but it doesn't take long for new team members to figure out what is rewarded and what is punished.Read More
Instead of avoiding conflict which only makes it more destructive, welcome conflict in your workplace as a tool for creative interaction, innovation, and employee engagement. Well-managed conflict is good for business!Read More
Creative Tension Zone is where huge ideas emerge, innovation thrives, and empires are built! The most successful workplace teams know how to manage constructive conflict to encourage creative tension. What every leader needs to know about leveraging the power of conflict in a team.Read More
“Conflict, when well managed, can breathe life and energy into workplace relationships that inspire more productivity, creativity and innovation.” ~ Mark Batson Baril
Conflict - probably not the first item on your business-building success list, right? However, conflict is a natural occurrence in your workplace and can either catalyze positive experiences that boost growth, or negative experiences that have been known to break a company. So, time to put it on your list!Read More
The truth is that starting up is one thing, but staying alive is another. Research shows that half of new business startups fail within the first five years of operation, and over 60% fail due to negative outcomes from conflict. Noam Wasserman’s research on startups, described in his best-selling book The Founder’s Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup, reveals this: Most business startups ‘sink’ not because of lack of planning, failure to test the market or undercapitalization, but rather due to interpersonal complexities, destructive co-founder disputes, destructive team dynamics, and people problems.
Another truth is that conflict is a necessary part of successfully running a business. This is because conflict is a natural occurrence which can happen any time two or more individuals have different ideas, wants, and needs. Conflict is normal in any environment. However, if not properly managed, conflict can escalate into disagreement and become entrenched to a point of no return for a young, fragile business.Read More
This is the second in our series of Leader’s Guides on harnessing the power of conflict. Conflict, when well managed, can breathe life and energy into workplace relationships that inspire more productivity, creativity and innovation.
I talked in the previous article, The Leader’s Guide: The Key to Boosting Employee Engagement in Your Workplace: It’s Not What You Think, about what conflict is - a natural occurrence in a workplace that can either be a positive or a negative experience. And that a leader who sees conflict as a useful tool rather than a negative thing to avoid, helps increase employee engagement and the vibrant exchange of ideas that take your business on the innovation and growth path.
So how, as a leader, do you start to create the kind of organizational dynamics that harness the power of constructive conflict? Read on...Read More
A recent article by Charles Duhigg in the NY Times, revealed and confirmed some of the most interesting findings I have ever seen around team dynamics and high performance. If you read nothing else about team dynamics this year, I highly recommend finishing my short synopsis in this post, and, popping over to the full article What Google Learned From Its Quest to Build the Perfect Team. It will be worth every minute, I promise.
Over the past five years Google engaged in a special project (Project Aristotle) that was tasked with breaking the code on how to build a perfect team. They have a huge workforce, a great number of teams, and methodologies to measure and analyze results that are second to none. They originally set out to see if they could predict what types of personality types and experience could be matched together to build a high performing team. The results of all that work…Read More
A quick search online will show how much workplace productivity is being talked about these days, with myriad solutions being offered, many of them basically short-term tips. At the end of the day what we’re really talking about is building a workplace culture that keeps employees not just at their desks doing work, but actively engaged, inspired and committed to organizational goals.
In this highly complex and swiftly-changing environment, it may not be surprising that only about 25% of business leaders have an employee engagement strategy in place, even though 90% feel that such a strategy has a positive impact on business success...Read More
Employee engagement is a hot topic in business these days, and for good reason. To put the issue into stark perspective, here are two statistics for you: 70% of U.S. workers have been found to be either not engaged or actively disengaged at work (Source: Gallup “State of the American Workplace” 2014 report); and increasing employee engagement investments by 10% can increase profits by $2,400 per employee, per year (Source: Workplace Research Foundation).
What is the key to increased employee engagement? Higher compensation, company outings and better food in the cafeteria help, but achieving sustainable success goes much deeper than this. For us, conflict advisors who work with individuals, leaders and teams on-site in all kinds of organizations, what consistently rises to the top is this factor:Read More
Is conflict helping or hurting your workplace? Does this even seem like a plausible question to you? I understand if it doesn’t – the term “conflict” generally has a negative connotation, something to be avoided or resolved immediately before it finds itself in a courtroom and costing a business millions.
The truth is that you DO have conflict in your workplace at one time or another. Conflict naturally occurs when two or more people have divergent ideas, needs, and wants. It’s normal, inevitable and every organization experiences it. This is why you should be talking about conflict in your workplace – because unaddressed or poorly managed conflict could cost your business in more ways than you might think.Read More
So, who in the world wants to really see what their team dynamic looks like by holding up a big mirror? Fast paced, mission driven teams who know that even with the best idea in the world, without a great team dynamic, they’ve got nothing. That’s who… We searched for an ideal tool to help teams and team leaders look objectively at themselves in a non-threatening way. We landed on one that is both proven and ideal for small to mid-size teams (2-40 people). We’ve found that when we match this diagnostic tool together with our conflict focused services, the teams improve dramatically as do their results.Read More
Ever watch one of the talent, dance or voice reality shows? As a guilty pleasure, I’ve seen them all at one point and after every performance a panel of celebrity judges gives the performer feedback. Each judge has their own style and some have become infamous (think Simon Cowell and his no-mince opinions and harsh tones). From my perspective, some judges are better than others at structuring and expressing their feedback. The objective should be for the performer to understand what they did well or not so well, what they could do better, and take the advice given. Likewise, there are key guidelines for the person giving feedback to do so effectively.Read More
Hackathons come in all sorts of shapes and sizes these days. From the Food Hack to the Sustainability Hackathon to the classic Hack Whatever-You-Want style event, they can be invigorating. I’ve spent time at several Hackathons this year, both as an observer and an Ombudsman (conflict advisor). From a team dynamics standpoint there aren’t many places where you can watch the entire life cycle of a team (sometimes 30+ teams) in less than 48 hours. It’s like watching a bunch of startup companies run themselves through a time machine, only it’s more complex. That’s right, more complex. In this article I’ll briefly explain what I mean from a team dynamics perspective and then pass along some fast and simple steps that will help you get to higher performance with your next team.Read More