Changing the Conversation: How Healthy Conflict Drives Business Growth
People often see conflict as a negative and naturally want to avoid it. This is as true in executive boardrooms as anywhere else in life. However, a survey conducted by MORAR on behalf of Epicor reveals that conflict amongst decision-makers in growing businesses is normal, and can be quite effective in driving innovation and growth.
In other words, those once-dreaded disagreements stemming from differing views and opinions can be transformed into healthy conflicts that lead to better ideas, solutions, and progress. But these new conversations must be based on facts generated by accurate, real-time business information and insights that everyone can access. And they must be supported by positive changes in how executives approach debate.
Achieving alignment through productive debate
While having access to the right information can lead to a well-informed, productive debate with beneficial results, the evolution of the conflict in the boardroom requires more than just data. It entails highlighting issues and opportunities in a new way, and shining a light on the nature of the boardroom conversation so it can change to support greater alignment among team members.
Rob Morris, managing director and general manager of intellectual property at leadership consultancy firm YSC, concurs, "The amount and accuracy of information available, and the speed with which businesses can get it, is now more advanced than ever. It’s essential to be able to interpret the data you have, and make good strategic judgements based on that data. But alignment of goals and information is key if the use of data is to be effective."
To achieve this alignment of goals and information, several key shifts must occur. Beyond the immediate challenge of managing personalities and egos in difficult conversations, business leaders need to:
- Move on from debates caused by differences in beliefs, opinions, and assumptions, and focus instead on the real business issues.
- Support healthy debate with consistent, real-time insight from business data to create a solid platform on which to base decisions.
- Encourage and nurture different perspectives within the leadership team to fuel more robust and rapid decision making.
- Give debate a purpose by adopting agile, integrated systems, and processes that allow you to implement decisions quickly and effectively.
Overcoming differences for a common objective
A mismatch in goals and priorities between CEOs and the rest of the C-suite may significantly hinder business growth. The discord could be because of the heavy burden CEOs often bear in having to project a confident image to external stakeholders—amongst many other factors. However, despite such challenges, alignment within the C-suite should be continually sought and not downplayed. The research proves that by taking the right steps, and with the right information technology in place, an alliance among executives can be achieved that benefits not only growth, but the entire business.
To discover more about how you can change the conversation in your boardroom to support healthy, fact-based debate that drives business growth, read our new eBook.
Posted by Martin Hill, Vice President Marketing for Epicor International