We’ve discussed meetings many times in this blog since they are a foundational element of Strategic Discipline and provide a cadence of accountability for your executive team. You should cascade these meetings throughout your organization as well to increase accountability. Did you know that if your business is conducting boring, routine meetings without team members providing their opinions, feedback, that failing to encourage conflict is putting your business in a position of severe risk?
In Conflict is Good Strategic Discipline we explained how a lack of conflict leads to dull meetings and suggests a lack of interest and commitment from your team.
What is the ultimate outcome of boring meetings?
It's bad decisions. What happens when your meetings are boring? First of all your team loses interest. They fail to offer critical opinions, input, and feedback. They fail to evaluate others input, opinions and feedback. In addition they may not even bring up the right issues for discussion. If your meetings are boring, more than likely you don’t offer room for conflict and your team to get passionately involved. The result is poor decisions. You’re not getting the full attention and input from the team to help with the decision process. They’re more interested in getting out of the meeting on time than they are in contributing.
What’s your role in all of this? Do you want to make your meetings more interesting and get your team more engaged?
Your leadership role should include introducing conflict into your meetings. In fact at the beginning of your meetings you may wish to introduce issues that stir conflict to stir the pot and increase the passion and energy that will enliven the meetings. You need to offer why certain issues matter and what could go wrong or develop potentially if the conflicts you bring up are not resolved.
When your team members passionately weigh-in on topics, meetings get interesting. Isn’t that what you want? Don’t you want your team to provide their input to help you make better decisions in operating your business?
This past week I spent two days working with my clients on Patrick Lencioni’s Five Dysfunctions of a Team. One of the meetings was on conflict and specifically setting up a set of conflict norms that govern how the group engages in conflict discussions in their meetings.
There was great diversity in the groups experience with conflict, from one person indicating they immediately turn to another TV channel when there’s conflict in the program to another who had constant conflict with the family in their childhood. How do you marry these two together to make both comfortable when conflict arises in your meetings? Can both parties exist and offer their views and opinions when they are on such opposite sides of the scale? We’ll look at how next blog.
For meetings to be effective you should encourage conflict.More importantly and impactful to your business is that without your team feeling comfortable to engage in conflict your business is in jeopardy. You will make more bad decisions without getting their input. Remember most businesses don’t fail because of poor execution; it’s due to poor decisions. Learn how to improve your level of conflict in meetings. Work to improve your team’s willingness to be vulnerable and offer their opinions. When you’ve achieved this you’ll be on your way to better decision making and growing your business at a faster pace.
Next blog we’ll look at my client’s example of Conflict Norms