The most successful companies in the world use the occurrence of conflict as an opportunity, while failed businesses frequently look back and wish they hadn’t stifled debate. The acts of decision makers routinely affect everyone in the entire organisation. Concurrently, a company’s corporate culture is vitally important and a company is defined by its leadership.
Research into top management teams has shown that the more productive ones were able to manage differences without getting involved in personality conflict, treating conflicts as opportunities for collaboration to achieve the best solution for the organisation as a whole:
"...all the good-to-great companies had a penchant for intense dialogue. Phrases like "loud debate", "heated discussions", and "healthy conflict" peppered the articles and interview transcripts from all companies."
Jim Collins, Good to Great
Conversely, researchers of business failures arising from highly unsuccessful strategic decisions have found a remarkably consistent pattern of stifled debate, with negative opinions or adverse information discounted as unhelpful:
"...he will not listen and really hear people telling him things he doesn't agree with, and he has few left who will dare to disagree with him anyway."
Sydney Finkelstein, Why Smart Executives Fail
So how can a successful executive harness the benefits of creative tension without straining relationships to breaking point?
CEDR works with executive leadership and senior management teams to provide effective solutions and alternative approaches to the consequences and challenges that can often arise out of conflict situations:
Governance programmes specifically designed for boards looking to develop a structured approach to corporate governance issues. These programmes helps organisations develop the systems and skills required for managing dialogue between executives and non-executives, observance of shareholder interests and transparent corporate communications
Dialaogue Skills provide senior management teams with a unique environment in which to explore creative methods for team-working and fresh alternatives and approaches to key business issues
Personal Development and Conflict Coaching can provide a combination of individual development training and private personalised coaching for individual executives looking to sharpen their skills, or requiring support in a particular relationship.
For a confidential discussion about how you can address conflict in your organisation contact Susanne Schuler, tel +44 (0)20 7536 6000, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.