Category: Diversity

Innovation environments: Conflicts affect performance

Conflict is inevitable in environments in which more than one opinion is need to be successful. Managing conflict is a major component for optimizing innovation environments. Individuals attracted to engineering and the sciences are often not those who know how to cope easily with conflict and often seek to avoid confrontation. Moreover, when conflict occurs individual performance and that of the team are diminished. Two-thirds of perceived performance issues are actually conflict related rather than to actual performance or skills competencies. In the book Crucial Conversations, strategies and processes are presented to identify and resolve conflicts.  Rapid conflict resolution greatly speeds innovation.

Several other observations are notable regarding conflict resolution, performance and the nature of innovation: those that score highly on active constructive behaviors and perceptions of leadership are promotable, potential creativity among team members is ubiquitous, a moment, an attitude, or a belief. The most pertinent point: there is more than one right answer. Sometimes we stop at the first right answer and we need to break our pattern of instant focus by letting the idea percolate. One way: try reframing the idea, change the lens, and triangulate with market needs.