I was reading a book last week and there was an excerpt from a manager suggesting “conflict” was wasteful activity or should be included in the 7 wastes (8 if your model includes people’s potential). I then suggested the same in a LinkedIn comment on a post. There was a bit of discussion afterwards, which I found quite interesting.
I would suggest that most people would agree that conflict could be quite valuable in getting people to think differently and in many cases, just in getting them to think. It can force people to defend their position, which forces them to fully understand all the details. On the face of it, at least from this perspective, conflict is a good thing.
However, in many cases, conflict goes beyond the valuable thought & research provoking level and into entrenched positions where people lose sight of the objective and start focusing on the “other side” rather than the other side’s “position”.
I’m not suggesting we need to create a new model of waste which includes conflict – I think the 7 or 8 currently “in use” are sufficient for identifying, discussing & removing (or reducing) the various wastes found in most organisations.
I would however, challenge you, the reader to consider the implications of the challenges you face, the conflicts you engage in & the benefit that can be gained if we look at these things as learning opportunities. Rather than a fight to win “our” position, why not engage in a dialectic to understand the best outcome for all involved.