“The way a fight is conducted is critical to the impact it has on the organisation. To ensure that the team survives the fight and comes out in good shape, leadership must proactively manage conflict. Beyer presented three guiding principles for handling the 'right fight'.”
Most leadership experts argue that the best way to manage change is to create alignment. Content organisations, however, face their own problems: lack of creativity and acquiescence to the decisions of others can obstruct the right decisions and solutions. For most large-scale change or innovation initiatives, a healthy dose of dissent is just as important as alignment. Within an acceptable range of competition and tension, dissent will fire up more of an individual’s brain, stimulating more pathways and engaging more creative centres. In short, more of what makes people unique, innovative, and passionate is available for good use.
Conflict free teamwork is not the be-all and end-all for leadership and the organisation. What is required is to find the right balance of alignment and competition. Pushing employees into the right fights helps sustain an organisation’s ability to fight for what really matters, and still have people who are able and willing to pull together again once the fight is resolved and to stop fighting about what does not matter. The right fight benefits people and organisations in three essential ways: lowering risks with an effective system of checks and balances; generating value by sparking real change; and creating better managers for the future.
Damon Beyer, co-author, with Saj-Nicole Joni, of the ground breaking book, The Right Fight: How Great Leaders Use Healthy Conflict to Drive Performance, Innovation, and Value, will be in London on the 24 March 2010. You are invited to join him and a select group of business leaders for an informal breakfast to discuss how organisations can successfully manage conflict to drive business performance and strategic change.
Damon Beyer is a Senior Executive Advisor at Booz & Company and a founding member of the Katzenbach Centre for Organisational Innovation. His work has also been published in the Harvard Business Review.
Visit the microsite for more information on the publication which facilitated this meeting The Right Fight. Watch a trailer, download a free chapter, contact the authors and find out where this book is available right now.
“Anybody in an organization who has any responsibility must read this book.”
Warren Bennis – Distinguished Professor of Business, University of Southern California and author of On Becoming a Leader