Conflict: Source of Innovation

Most executives look for ways to resolve conflict quietly, yet to me it is a fountain of innovation.

Let's be clear about what healthy conflict is and is not. What it is is a disagreement about issues aligned with a common objective. What is is not is a political or ulterior objective in a non - zero sum game or simply I win you lose scenario. Executives need to understand the difference in leading organizations. Once the nature of conflict is understood leaders are able to guide the energy to productive use or defeat bull shit.

In opposite order of interest value is the ulterior source of conflict. I advise clients and employees to clarify the game that is being played. If it outside the bound of real business performance, get it in the open. Light of day usually disintegrates ulterior games people play.

Conflict is a source of deep emotion. Tap into it for understanding true commitment to ideas. Conflict is a natural way to role play or sort out opposing thoughts, basis underpinning ideas, and emotional commitment to see the job done well. Frequently I assume the aggressive opposing view, challenging assumptions, analysis and facts. This helps understand levels of preparation and tests true beliefs.This verbal combat also inspires new solutions because people dedicated to common goals find common means of reaching them.

The essential idea is that conflict is wrapped in emotional beliefs and in business supported by fact based analysis. There are truly legitimate opposing views about how to reach objectives. Understanding this is hugely valuable and is why social, cultural and intellectual diversity and all the conflict with discomfort it brings along is worth leveraging conflict as a source of creative innovation.


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