How Conflict Helps Organizations

Remove reviews from Google is a search term increasing amounts of people are searching for nowadays. There are many people who are looking to get this service since some complaints can really hurt their reputation online. The key is to have a good mix of constructive reviews and listen to these customers to improve your business.

A great example is the story of Alice who, in the 1950s found the reason for an increased rate of cancer among children. She received some funding for her research and came up with a questionnaire to send out to parents. The incidents of the increased cancer rate among children were in affluent neighborhoods.

When receiving the results from her sample, there was a statistic that jumped. Women who had x-rays while pregnant were giving birth to children who would eventually get cancer. Alice then published her findings but it took 25 years for the medical industry to stop giving x-rays to people.

In the meantime, there was a mathematician who wanted to help Alice to see if there was really a link between the two. So he was coming up with different formulas and algorithms to try to disprove her theory. This collaboration is a great ecosystem to have this constructive conflict as thinking. The first step is to find people that are not at all like us. Neurologically, we prefer being with people like us.

But finding people with different backgrounds, disciplines, experiences and so forth and taking the time to come together and discuss topics on which there are conflicting issues is a great way to collaborate. Organizations should do this exercise in order to come up with better ideas, innovate and grow. Unfortunately 85% of employees at work had issues or concerns with another co-worker they were afraid to raise.

This is mainly due to the aftermath of dealing with the consequences if ever the conflict cannot be managed or handled. And then there is the aspect of continuing to work with them too. In other words, organizations in this case cannot think together. We are hiring great employees but not getting the best use out of them. At universities at the PhD level, as an assignment, they want students to stand up to authority and challenge their point of view.

This is a great exercise but it comes too late in life. Everything at every age group should be taught and encouraged to do so to have thinking organizations. Openness alone can’t drive change; openness is just the beginning.