12 Ways to Maximize Collisions of Perspective
Mediocrity is the result of peace and harmony. Rather than resolving conflict, invite it. Lousy leaders and weak organizations pursue peace at all costs.
The heat of tension, tests, clarifies, refines, and strengthens teams and ideas.
Consensus is the path to average.
Teams without tensions have weak players. One person runs the show. Everyone else goes along.
4 People who produce mediocre organisations:
- Pouters who withdrawn when they don’t get their own way.
- All or nothing thinkers who won’t buy-in unless they win.
- Weaklings who won’t stand up for their position.
- Grudge holders who won’t let go.
Successful leaders invite and facilitate collisions of perspective.
Four marks of destructive collisions:
- Kingdom building where people pursue personal advantage over organizational.
- Bullying that silences weaker players.
- Using power or title to support positions during debate.
- Attacking people rather than issues. Don’t tolerate personal jabs or insults.
Tensions are destructive when participants can’t fight fair.
12 ways to invite and maximize collisions of perspective:
- Open up about tensions. Avoid the tendency to pretend they don’t exist. Just name them.
- Enable healthy collisions. Have fake fights for training exercises. Assign positions on an issue, regardless of how they really feel, and go at it.
- Reject compromise early on.
- Ask participants to defend someone elses position.
- Don’t allow high-level leaders to state their position at the beginning.
- Identify core concerns. What part of your argument is essential?
- Ask, “Where can’t you compromise?” Give participants opportunities to defend before giving something up.
- Clarify dissent. “I don’t like it,” isn’t clarity.
- Uncover priorities. Ask, “What’s makes this so important to you?”
- Provide rules, and structures that elevate conflict above personalities. No personal attacks allowed. Talking is limited to two minutes at a turn. Everyone speaks once before anyone speaks twice.
- Ask, “What if?”
- Build strong relationships during “peace time.”
On Facebook: “The benefits of conflict include ______.”
How can leaders maximize collisions of perspective?
What dangers should be avoided?
Good stuff Dan, language kinda harsh but you are here to make your points.
I am creating content now and I got to hand it to you. Creating a message on this blog daily or almost daily is an epic feat! Hats off to you sir! Respect.
Softer words might attract the touchy feely crowd more. The testosterone beasts will love the collision words though.
Folks in my experience can maximize opportunities in 3 ways. That is why the word HOW was put together with those letters.
Invite different opinions…THEN LISTEN dang it!!!!!!!! Nothing more irritating than running across an idiot who feigns interest by asking questions but you can tell they ain’t hearing a word you say!
If you are gonna ask the questions……LISTEN!!!!! LOL
Dangers to be avoided???? More like BLOWN UP, right out of my head!! What?
ANTS Automatic Negative Thoughts! YEP and they are programmed in there pretty good!!! Good thing I know how to get them the heck out of there!!!!!!!!!!!
Dual coding is the most advanced cutting edge way of getting rid of the ANTS and replacing them with ENTS!
Epic New Thoughts!
Yep Ants to Ents, that is the ticket, making copies of Ents all day long I am!
Cya Dan hope you have an day filled with ENTS!!!
SP out to creating and repeating and believing my newest thought buddies…my Ents!
Thanks Scott. I appreciate your feedback regarding the tone of my writing. Also, thanks for HOW – honest, open, willing.
BTW: I make statements when I write and leave it to readers to come up with the areas the statements don’t apply. If I softened the message with all the exceptions the length of the posts would exceed my attention span. 🙂 Just a preferred style.
Oh I get it and appreciate to!!!
One of my enduring qualities is I am most like a blunt instrument!!
Lol!! I speak like a real person too so the saltier sailor talk from you the better for me!!!
Just thing is others have this softer gentler more sensitive side and easily offended!!!!! Watch the thumbs down rain if i call them nancy-boys!!! Hehe
Latest from Dr Amen sure to disturb a few!!!
Men your belly fat turns testosterone into estrogen!!! Bottom line, stop being a girl and get off the couch and MOVE already!!!! Lol
Hey do not like it take it up with Dr Amen!
Dan, this is powerful stuff. I always knew the idea that good things come from healthy conflict but I needed help in managing the conflict. This is a great help in outlining for me some scenarios to help steer and direct discussions toward a better result. I love your posts and am cheering you from the sidelines! Thanks!
Thanks John. This is dangerous turf, but worth the struggle.
We don’t have to make everything a confrontation. Quite the contrary. Positive, strong environments require an abundance of positivity.
Best wishes for the journey.
Great stuff Dan. Too often I see leaders “bully” their solution to conflicts, or they just leave it up to the people involved to figure it out, even if it is obvious that it isn’t going to work, and don’t get involved until it is blowing up. Many are quick to say that “you’ve got to learn how to handle conflicts” and stay out of it. I disagree with that, at least at first. It’s just like teaching a kid how to ride a bike, you don’t just give them a bike and say get to it. You show them how to put on the helmet and pads, how to get on, how to pedal, and then you let go as they finally get it. If you take a little time to teach people the intangible professional skills they need, they’ll be much better off for it.
Thanks John. You’re nailing the two extremes we fall into. “Hands on” or “hands off.”
In reality the better approach is “ready to help.” Along with, abundant training, as you indicate.
This is good, the tension I’ve felt in these situations is the leader positioning as a referee in a meeting, ensuring things stay constructive (after all it is conflict!) but in doing so nearly relinquishing his own position as not to quench others inputs/positions. I find that balance difficult.
Thanks Ken. I hear you. Perhaps this is where the idea of training a junior member of the team to run meetings might be helpful. The person running the meeting doesn’t contribute to the discussion. They only facilitate it.
Love the way you keep shinning light from different angles with multiple intensity, and with guide-rails! great post.
Thanks Scott. We all face touch situation…gotta turn and face them or adopt some strategy of avoiding or running away or ignoring. As our conversations indicate. Sometimes ignoring IS an option.
“Sometimes ignoring is an option”, Like it Dan. It reminds me of a saying that goes like this, “sometimes the smartest thing a person can say is NOTHING AT ALL”…
Good morning Dan;
Mediocore leaders stagnate growth in thier organization. These leaders often choose an Autocratic style of leadership using authority and position to keep others at bay. There are varied reasons for this. However, typically it is due to the fact they are not the best candidate for thier position “and they know thier not”. These leaders keep others at a distance because they realise they can not defend thier position. Problem solving and outside the box thinking come to a ‘screaching halt’. If changes, recognition, or great idea’s don’t come from them, they prefer to bury thier heads in the sand ignoring issue’s as though everything were hunky-dory. Thier expectation of others are much greater than those they place on themselves. In other words ‘thier’ behaviors do not parralel to the high expectaions they hold others to. These leaders have a Fixed-Mindset. They attribute performance to ‘thier’ inate ability, telling themselves that effort and learning don’t really matter that much. Consequently, those of a Fixed-Mindset consistantly select safer, less challenging routes where where they can be assured of sucsess. A pattern that further stagnates growth and opportunity. Addopting a Growth-Mindset allows ognizations to realise and take advantage of opportunities. Recognising that the thoughts and ideas of a diverse workplace culture place goals and vision ahead of unhealthy ego driven agenda’s.Those who apply a Growth-Mindset lift and inspire others, tackling tough problems that others would ignore or run from. If your a leader and get overcome by what I call stink’n think’n, remind yourself of this simple phrase, it works for me. “Rite is still rite, even when no one believs it, wrong is still wrong even when everyone believes it”. If your a leader, DO THE RITE THING FOR HEAVENS SAKE, it’s what your being paid for!!!
Looking forward to the workshop!!!
Thanks SGT. One of the things I love about your comment is the inclusion of “fixed mindset” vs. “growth mindset.” Dang that is so essential to this conversation.
“Ah shucks Dan stop it, your make’n me blush”!!!
I agree, Dan, that disagreement is important in a healthy environment. And I think that your ideas work in an environment over which you have some measure of influence (notice I’m not saying control). I spend much of my time working in situations where the environment is not healthy and the leadership epitomizes your Four marks of destructive collisions.
In these situations, I believe alignment is everything. I don’t think you can get to productive collision without it. I agree that it needs to be addressed openly, but only in a manner that builds trust and a perception of shared goals first. HOW you get there requires a process. I have a process that I use in my consulting practice but it is by no means the only valid way. I am reminded of the sound clip you published some time back with Simon Sinek discussing the Marine Corps process to accomplish the same thing.
Excellent stuff. Teams have the same kinds of issues as all organizations, and things like alignment and congruence and shared visions help a bunch. So does TALKING and communicating and playing with ideas. What is important is that the team also have some ideas about how to IMPLEMENT those ideas.
The flip side is that old analysis paralysis stuff, where one player or an outsider holds all the top cards and can simply choose to sit out that hand or even go watch another game. Then, teams are frustrated because nothing happens.
Your list is a good one.
I plan to reframe and repackage and will attribute to you. I will throw some Square Wheels cartoons into the mix. They are good tools for carrying on some of the needed discussions.
Have fun out there!
I served briefly on a church board about 2 decades ago where the buzzword from the new pastor was “consensus”. There was no room for healthy disparity of thought, so manipulation by an adroit politician led the way in a falsely imposed harmony where his way was right or one’s motives were questioned as being less than pure. Board meetings ran well into the night, tensions ran high but people didn’t voice them, and the elephants in the room were never looked at, much less spoken about.
The church lost 1/2 of its membership, and experienced severe financial difficulties to the point where financial concerns replaced mission focus. We have since moved several hours away due to work, but it continues to struggle.
About the same time, I also served on the board of a private school. There, differences of opinion were encouraged, BUT decisions were not made by the right people (the school board chairman wouldn’t let the principal act alone or hold him accountable, but brought even minor decisions to the board), and difficult issues were tabled after lengthy discussions or referred to committees rather than being acted upon.
Your discussion is great. The crux is: Promote healthy dissention, then make decisions for the good of the organization’s mission, and move forward in unity. Easy to say – hard to do.
I appreciate your comments Ken and share your thoughts. In the past I’ve choose different individuals to facilatate meetings tyo allow others the opportunity to steer conversation while gaining insight threww the experience. When the leader does this though they must remember they’ve relingquished final decsion making authority, (unless obvious negative ressults would impact the organization), otherwise your opinion carried no more weight than any other team member. Team members always felt it was productive to step into the shoe’s of another and experience thier role and responsabilities. “Thanks Ken”
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I don’t know much about disruption management and thus can’t comment on it knowledgeably. However, tangentially, often a “good person role” robs us of our life. We want people to like us, to enjoy spending time with us, and to see us as wise and helpful. We also want to avoid the anxiety we feel whenever someone disapproves of something we do. Funny, but after years of practicing “self-care,” we realize something ironic: If we want to live an authentic, meaningful life, we need to master the art of disappointing, upsetting and even “disrupting” others, and living with the reality that some people need to be awakened by some non-traditional means.
Now, we must believe our staff members are gifted in some special way, otherwise we are admitting “we” are not very smart—because we hired them. So no matter how brilliant they may be, gifted persons have received inaccurate or scant information about what it means to be gifted— and often have no way to make sense of their unusual abilities, conspicuous differences, or uncomfortable relationships with work. Unfortunately, most gifted people are no better informed on the subject than anyone else. Even if they were identified as gifted youngsters–few gifted adults really understand how their minds operate, and most know even less about their innate intensity, complexity, and drive. What they have learned is that who they are, what they do, and how they do it–are usually “too much” for other people. Throughout their lives most have experienced an array of confusing criticisms about their differences (e.g., “You’re too smart for your own good!” or, “Why can’t you just go with the flow?”). As a result, they confront social and work challenges most of their lives until they and others accept or “irrupt” their gift.
Maybe that’s why disruption management can work.
Re: Mediocrity is the result of peace and harmony. I know you were using that to raise hackles and create discussion, tend to wonder though. Mediocrity is the result of still (perceived peaceful) and likely stagnant, waters with a dollop of siloism. At the same time,unique harmonies (pentatonix for one) can produce results greater than the sum of the individuals. And while some of the most innovative music may initially appear cacophonistic, upon repeated listenings can transcend… so maybe I still agree with you about mediocrity, Dan.
I do like your point about asking someone to defend someone else’s position. A variation on that theme, is to ask someone who is passionately invested to identify all of the negative potential of what they are passionate about…enjoy that delayed pondering silence. Ask them to do a ‘worst case’ scenario of what they are advocating for.
I think consensus is getting a bad rap. I would love to live/work in a place where everyone agrees with everything all the time. But, no, not really . . . that would be incredibly boring. So, rather than being bored (or dead in the water) we work for consensus; and strive for commitment, clarity, and understanding among those who weren’t as “all in” with the consensus on a particular issue.
I’m not sure I agree with this post’s point. Yes, we should make negative situations positive by learning from them but . . . inviting conflict and don’t find resolve? I don’t see the benefit. Invite discussion when there are hard points to discuss . . . yes. Put the tough ideas on the table . . . yes. I think we do this in order to find resolve; to take a step forward in the direction of peace and stability. Conflict is just the opposite. The benefit of conflict is there but, I don’t know about you, I stay away from people who seek it out.
Diana, for those who engage conflict it is the heart which is the core of the issue. The goal must always be ‘positive resolution’. There will however continue to be those who address conflict for negative contraversial reasons. Attitudes should not be combative but be driven with the purpose of making things, (people, processes, and results) better. Thanks for sharing Diana. Steve
Well said, Steve. Thank you for the clarification. Combative attitudes vs resolution conflict makes it more clear for me!
Reblogged this on frijasroxanne.
I think I’m ready to sport my Leadership Freak T-shirt… Where can I pick one up Dan?
I don’t know that maximizing collisions maximizes an organization. But I see these tips as a means to work through conflict. When employed you may resolve conflicts quicker and reach better results without breaking the team. The tips sound similar to those on debate teams.
I t’s true that “Teams without tensions have weak players. One person runs the show. Everyone else goes along.” And that settles for unwanted consensus.
Second sentence, I believe you meant “rather than *avoiding a conflict…” one could resolve it by entering the constructive argument or … avoiding *any argument. Is another way of ding what Roosevelt said “It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something” isn’t it?