We’ve been asked by many of our customers for periodic, no-nonsense emails with just-in-time information for managers and knowledge workers on how organizations work. This is our 8th edition and we hope you enjoy it.
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Podcast - 5 Critical Tips for Building Trust at Work
Our popular Webinar, "5 Critical Tips for Building Trust at Work" is now available as a free podcast. Simply click on this link to download the podcast: 5 Critical Tips Podcast
What We're Reading
"How Management Teams Can Have a Good Fight" by Kathleen M. Eisenhardt, Jean L. Kahwajy, and L.J. Bourgeois III, Harvard Business Review, July-August, 1997, Reprint 97402.
"The absence of conflict is not harmony, it's apathy"
This month I thought I'd review one of my favorite HBR reprints. I've found that many HBR reprints are very effective 'thin books' for just in time learning from the best in the field. Andrea Mayfield, my co-author of Naming Elephants, and I often give this article out and actually used the title: "How to Have a Good Fight" when we piloted one of our workshops. We received serious pushback from people who were appalled by the term good fight. This was a reminder of the deep cultural norms around avoiding conflict especially in more collectivistic societies but also in the highly individualistic U.S. society. (see February's ThinZine for more on that).
In collectivistic societies harmony is maintained within the group at all costs. More individualistic societies will expect different opinions to be voiced in order to find the best solution. So the above quote from this article shows a distinct Western bias.
However, cultural biases and preferences aside, the reason the good fight is so important is that surfacing conflicting opinions, knowledge, and world views is the way to find the nuances that result in new ideas and innovation. You won't find new ideas when a group is determined to be agreeable above all else. The authors of the article researched 12 top management teams in technology-based companies and identified 6 tactics that represented how the teams used conflict constructively vs. the teams that allowed conflict to become personal and political. The 6 tactics are:
- Worked with 'more' rather than little data and information.
- Developed multiple alternatives to encourage vigorous debate.
- Articulated common goals.
- Used humor.
- Balanced power.
- Resolved issues without watering down the decisions to create consensus.
These same tactics are identified in many other books and articles including some of the more recent reflecting the most-up-to date research. There are also many books that provide techniques for tactics 1, 2 & 3, but it's rare to find anything that addresses tactics 4, 5 & 6.
You can buy copies of this HBR reprint online, distribute it to your team and have a 15 minute dialogue about where your team exhibits these skills. If you find you need some help, give us a call about a brand new program that addresses tactics 3, 4, 5 & 6.
New - Conflict Management: A DiSC®-Based Approach
This program is a great new resource to build skills in tactics 3, 4, 5 & 6. These are often called 'soft skills' yet as a wise consultant pointed out to me this month, these are really success skills. I love that phrase and the fact that there is now a good program we can provide that build those success skills in any team.
"Conflict Management: A DiSC based Approach" gives participants a chance to discover their own natural approach to conflict, and understand and build skills on incorporate some of the other approaches. The four approaches are:
The goal of the program isn't to eliminate conflict but to learn how to manage it for constructive ends. For example, my own report identifies my most natural approach as Direct with some leaning toward Empathic. The report provides specifics on how my approach can be helpful to constructive conflict and when overused, how it can intimidate others. There are concrete suggestions on how I can improve my impact when I participate in the steps of managing conflict: identifying common goals, sharing and receiving perspectives, finding solutions, and how to use a balanced approach to achieve resolution.
The video is hilarious and will resonate well with your Gen X and Gen Y teammates. Follow this link to view the Sample Video.
Additional Free June Webinars
We've added two additional free Webinars in June. We're repeating the "6 Appreciative Assessments: How to Increase Your Coaching & Training Business" (June 15 & 27) and introducing "Using idXready to Increase Your Training Business" (June 13). Click on this link to enroll - Webinars
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Thanks to all who responded to last month's special to honor my now 18-year-old son. We had such a tremendous response that we've decided to feature one product each month. June's featured product is "Conflict Management: A DiSC-Based Approach." Purchase it during June and you'll save 20% (i.e., 10% off the already discounted suggested retail price).
Thanks for your interest and support.
Sue Annis Hammond