I wrote this rant for the first time back in December of 2006. I could write it everyday as it’s as commonplace as the common cold – a fact of life without a simple solution. Enjoy the latest rinse, friend. Today’s politically correct culture produces an abundance of teams with “false harmony.” These teams look good on the outside. They never fight in public and don’t know how to fight in private. They avoid conflict. These teams underperform as a result. We, the BTL band, teach ‘em to fight to improve performance instead of fighting to prove a point. Big diff.
Here’s why false harmony is the norm – it’s just a little bit easier. How much easier is it for you to talk about your spouse with a friend then to face him or her directly? How much easier is it for you to talk to your coworkers about your verbally abusive peer or leader than to talk truth directly with the tension producing teammate? The real reason it’s easier to live with false harmony is it takes courage to face your fear of rejection and run into conflict with your spouse, friend, coworker, or leader. Here’s the good news.
Most conflict is simply a conversation to be had.
As we really learn to talk, we discover most of our conflict is really just a communications problem. A translation issue that two people can usually solve on their own or with the help of a loving third party, it just takes vulnerability, patience, and time. A team that values false harmony over healthy conflict is a team destined to underperform. They may look good on the outside and even carry a nice multiple on Wall Street. They will not sustain high performance, however. High performance teams know that healthy conflict is their friend. The energy that comes from a diverse, innovative, results oriented, passionate group of people will generate heat.
Heat will fuel high performance and also produce heated moments. Deal with it.
During these healthy conflicts, high performance leaders will mine for more instead of burying it. You see, friend, problems don’t get better with age. Conflict doesn’t resolve itself. I mean come on man, the elephant in the room is impossible to sweep under the rug. Address it, leader. You and your team are not part of some kinda self healing system. Problems must be addressed to be eliminated. The sooner they’re addressed the more simply they are solved. Period. So, leader, move toward your team members. Expect conflict. Expect lots of conflict. Move toward them, anyway. And, remember that together we transform is more than our tagline. It is what we demand from ourselves and expect from our clients. Remember, conflict is not the enemy. Valuing false harmony is the problem. You and your team are building a culture. Make it a culture that values truth not the lie of false harmony. Make it a culture that fights to improve performance, not prove a point. Make it a culture where everybody plays, everybody contributes, everybody thinks, and everybody wins. Remember, nobody is as smart as everybody. When we see your team coming do we just see you as the point of the spear or do we see everybody blended into one? You choose, leader. Your choices have consequences. Choose truth in love, it just might set you free. Good.
Live hard. Love harder (Thanks, Teeks)…