13 December 2005

Conflict For Growth

Conflict is necessary for growth. Avoiding conflict--or making it the central action one takes in a group setting--forces growth out of the development equation.

In one-on-one situations, conflict avoidance is very common. For an entrepreneurial team, avoiding conflict is a strategy for disaster, for it allows unexplored ideas and uncharted opportunities to drift away in the limbo of "getting along."

On the opposite end is The Fools' Paradise known as government, where at some levels conflict is deemed mandatory. Constant conflict--like a war-ravaged land--leads to very little growth, where those receiving the most benefit being rats and vultures.

How does a group best handle conflict to spur growth? By having a clear goal or goals for the team to focus on. Engaging in conflict without a shared goal is to fight to hold a position. Engaging in conflict when the parties share a goal is to explore and scrutinize more options for the best overall result.

The best teams are not the least argumentative. In fact, research and experience shows that the best teams--like the best marriages--argue often, but always with the understanding that the end result is to make a better team.

Settle on goals; let conflict be a process for growth. Basic guidelines for better teamwork. And don't bother telling that to The Fools: they'll never understand it.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

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