Build Your Advantage: A Video Series
With management consultant and author Patrick Lencioni
Part Two: How Lack of Conflict Will Kill Your Company
“To be kind, sometimes we have to be tough with one another,” says Patrick Lencioni, author of The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business. “When people fail to disagree with one another around an idea or an issue, it ferments into conflict around the person because you get frustrated with them and start to resent them.”
How can you stop resentment from slowly festering? Easy. Build a culture of trust in which employees are encouraged — nay, expected — to voice their concerns, criticisms, and suggestions for improvement sooner rather than later. When silence is no longer an acceptable response and comments are made with respect, then organizational health will follow, says Lencioni.
This credo applies, too, in one-on-one settings. In this video, Lencioni stresses the importance holding employees accountable and providing real, constructive performance reviews in real time.
“If you care about someone, you owe it them as a person to let them know how they can get better,” he says. “We have to have the courage to confront people because we care about them, and in turn that helps the organization.”
Lencioni isn't the only proponent of healthy internal conflict. When asked about his greatest contribution to Ford, former CEO Alan Mulally said, "I taught my executive team how to argue."
At a recent Build Live event in Atlanta, The Table Group dug deeper into "the good fight" — why it's important, how it manifests, and what it can produce. Here is their four-point plan for building the institutional trust needed to encourage open dialog.