Many of us hate conflict, but what if the source of most of our problems was not conflict, but agreement? Author and Professor Jerry Harvey contends,
“The inability to cope with (manage) agreement, rather than the inability to cope with (manage) conflict, is the single most pressing issue of modern organizations.”
He finds that most agreement in organizations is actually false consensus. It occurs because many people feel they might be isolated, censured or ridiculed if they voice objections. This often leads groups to act on inappropriate goals and is a setup for organizational failure; disasters like the Space Shuttle Challenger are a great example.
“Organizations frequently take action contrary to the desires of their members, and thereby defeat the very purpose they set out to achieve.”
Over the past 15 years I have had the opportunity to listen to over 100 speakers address various aspects of leadership through my membership in Vistage, the world’s leading CEO organization. One of the most memorable has been Pat Murray, and his presentation on Group Dynamics: The Inside Story on Teams & Leading Them.
Drawing on the work of Wilfred Bion, Kurt Lewin, and Professor Jerry Harvey, author of The Abilene Paradox, Murray combines this powerful theoretical base with extensive experience with senior management teams. He translates timeless principles of group dynamics from the behavioral sciences into clear insights and practical applications for management and leadership.
People will often “go along to get along” if they have any doubt at all about what will happen if they present opposition. Leaders must create a workplace where people are free to disagree and are encouraged to voice their true opinions. Murray goes beyond the common myths about what it means to build and lead effective teams. He focuses on exposing the team’s “real issues” and provides a powerful method of addressing and resolving these major performance blockages.
For a free white paper on The Management of Agreement by Professor Harvey, click here.
If you are or know a CEO that is based in Manhattan, you may have the opportunity to hear this presentation.