Sparking Positive Conflict

"If people smile, nod, and say 'yes' at your company, maybe it's time to start an argument. According to HBS professor Michael Roberto, the lack of good conflict- constructive conflict - within an organization makes it that much harder to accurately evaluate business ideas and make important decisions.

But conflict does not mean browbeating. In his new book, Why Great Leaders Don't Take Yes for an Answer: Managing for Conflict and Consensus (Wharton School Publishing), Roberto describes the toll on organizations when leaders fail to create an atmosphere that invites dissent. He then outlines concrete steps that managers at all levels can take to spark positive conflict and make sure that all views get a fair hearing, and he outlines as well a fair and open process for making more effective decisions.

'Keeping conflict constructive helps to build decision commitment, and therefore facilitates implementation,' says Roberto, who teaches in the School's General Management unit."

Read more in this email inteview from HBS Working Knowledge.