Why Conflict Is Good in Expansion-Stage Companies
Recently, I wrote a blog post about why stress can be good even though the word is generally used in a negative connotation. After reading an article by Paul Spiegelman, founder and CEO of BerylHealth, titled “5 Tips to Resolve Conflicts” on Inc.com I got to thinking the same thing in regards to the word “conflict”.
Is conflict always a bad thing? Should it automatically spark negativity?
I don’t think so. I think conflict, when approached in the right way, can be constructive and foster growth. This is particularly important in expansion-stage companies that need to sustain both motivation and high growth.
Here are a few reasons why I think conflict is good:
- Conflict drives change: Without conflict, nothing is ever questioned and nothing is ever changed. When there are different ideas within a group about the way something should be done, it will generally create some conflict. The good news is, after this conflict there will be resolution and the team will ultimately figure out the best way. Which brings me to my next point.
- Conflict helps create and implement best practices: Once conflict gets the ball rolling with change, you will eventually be able to reach a best practice through trial and error. You’ll then also have the ability to implement that best practice across your organization into other teams and other projects. Additionally, you might have a new member of the team who has been through this process in his or her past role, and is able to incorporate new best practices into your process.
- Conflict is healthy: No one is going to be happy in their position if they don’t speak up about something they don’t like. Even if nothing is changed, at the very least, they will be comforted by the fact that they voiced their concerns and, hopefully, they will understand more about why it is the way it is. Best case scenario – they drive change and the company moves forward.
No company can grow without new ideas. New ideas and processes will often create friction and conflict. Through that conflict, you will find a decision that is best for the company.
It’s also important to remember:
- Not to let the conflict get personal: Stay focused on the issue at hand.
- Not to take it personally, either: When someone doesn’t like the way you do something, don’t take offense or feel attacked. Talk it out until the issue is resolved.
- Not to take conflict home: Issues should be resolved as soon as possible. Try not to let it stew and become something more than it is.
Obviously, not all conflict is good conflict. But, when managed correctly and directed in the right way, it can have a huge impact in the company’s evolution. Also, if you are passionate enough about the company to stand up for what you think is right – you are a good person to have around.