Cómo los equipos directivos pueden tener una buena pelea

La ausencia de conflicto no es armonía, su apatía.

Cómo los equipos directivos pueden tener una buena pelea

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Resumen.

Los directivos de alto nivel saben que el conflicto por los problemas es natural e incluso necesario. Los equipos directivos que desafían el pensamiento de los demás desarrollan una comprensión más completa de sus elecciones, crean una gama más amplia de opciones y toman mejores decisiones. Pero el desafío, familiar para cualquiera que haya formado parte de un equipo directivo, es evitar que los conflictos constructivos sobre cuestiones se degeneren en conflictos interpersonales. A partir de su investigación sobre la interacción del conflicto, la política y la velocidad en el proceso de toma de decisiones de los equipos directivos, los autores han destilado un conjunto de seis tácticas características de los equipos de alto rendimiento:

  • Trabajan con más información, en lugar de menos.
  • Desarrollan múltiples alternativas para enriquecer el debate.
  • Establecen objetivos comunes.
  • Se esfuerzan por inyectar humor en el lugar de trabajo.
  • Mantienen una estructura de poder corporativo equilibrada.
  • Resuelven los problemas sin forzar un consenso.

Estas tácticas funcionan porque mantienen el conflicto centrado en los problemas; fomentan relaciones de colaboración, en lugar de competitivas, entre los miembros del equipo; y crean un sentido de equidad en el proceso de toma de decisiones. Sin conflicto, los grupos pierden su eficacia. Los gerentes a menudo se vuelven retraídos y solo superficialmente armoniosos. La alternativa al conflicto no suele ser el acuerdo, sino la apatía y la desconexión, que abren las puertas a una causa principal de grandes debacles corporativos: el pensamiento de grupo.


The Idea in Brief

Think “conflict” is a dirty word, especially for top-management teams? It’s actually valuable for team members to roll up their sleeves and spar (figuratively, that is)—if they do it right. Constructive conflict helps teams make high-stakes decisions under considerable uncertainty and move quickly in the face of intense pressure—essential capacities in today’s fast-paced markets.

The key? Mitigate interpersonal conflict. Most conflicts take a personal turn all too soon. Here’s how your team can detach the personal from the professional—and dramatically improve its collective effectiveness.

The Idea in Practice

The best teams use these six tactics to separate substantive issues from personalities:

  • ignorance. Arm yourselves with a wealth of data about your business your competitors. This encourages you to debate critical , not argue out of

Example:

Star Electronics’* top team “measured everything”: bookings, backlogs, margins, engineering milestones, cash, scrap, work-in-process. They also tracked competitors’ moves, including product introductions, price changes, and ad campaigns.

  • possibilities. In weighing decisions, consider four or five options at once—even some you don’t support. This diffuses conflict, preventing teams from polarizing around just two

Example:

To improve Triumph Computer’s* lackluster performance, managers gathered facts and then brainstormed a range of alternatives, including radically redirecting strategy with entry into a new market, and even selling the company. The team combined elements of several options to arrive at a creative, robust solution.

  • solution. Unite a team with common goals. This rallies everyone to work on decisions as collaborations, making it in interest to achieve the best

Example:

Star Electronic’s* rallying cry was the goal of creating “the computer firm of the decade.” Premier Technologies’ was to “build the best damn machine on the market.”

  • creativity. Humor—even if it seems contrived at times—relieves tension and promotes collaborative esprit within a team. Practical jokes, Halloween and April Fool’s Day celebrations, and “dessert pig-outs” relax everyone—increasing tactfulness, effective listening, and
  • equity. The CEO is more powerful than other executives, but the others wield substantial power as well—especially in their own areas of responsibility. This lets the whole team participate in strategic decisions, establishing fairness and
  • equity. If the team can’t reach consensus, the most relevant senior manager makes the decision, guided by input from the others. Like balancing the power structure, this tactic also builds fairness and

Example:

At Premier Technologies*, managers couldn’t agree on a response to a competitor’s new-product launch. Ultimately, the CEO and his marketing VP made the decision. Quipped the CEO: “The function heads do the talking; I pull the trigger.”

Top managers are often stymied by the difficulties of managing conflict. They know that conflict over issues is natural and even necessary. Reasonable people, making decisions under conditions of uncertainty, are likely to have honest disagreements over the best path for their company’s future. Management teams whose members challenge one another’s thinking develop a more complete understanding of the choices, create a richer range of options, and ultimately make the kinds of effective decisions necessary in today’s competitive environments.