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What Makes Conflict Beautiful?



You may not know much about our book, The Beauty of Conflict, Harnessing Your Teams’ Competitive Advantage. So we thought we’d share the Introduction with you.

No one likes conflict. Not even us.

Most people weren’t trained in it nor provided good models growing up.

Most people think conflict is painful and an impediment to work, so they make choices to avoid, manage, or defuse it by choosing to either overpower the situation to end and win an argument or going silent to keep the peace.

This seems like a good idea at an individual level. After all, who wants to experience the discomfort, other people’s reactions, or the tension of conflict?

When leaders and teams avoid, manage, or defuse conflict, they wind up mired in politics, gossip, and back-channel maneuvering. Team meetings are boring as people defer to the leader or the loudest member. Team members are uninspired, or worse disengaged, and their performance is mediocre at best. Ultimately, turnover increases because no one wants to stay on the team that’s so dysfunctional.

Sound familiar?

If it does, you are not alone. In a 2014 Gallup survey of employee engagement, only 31.5% of employees were “engaged” (psychologically committed and making positive contributions at work), 51% of employees were disengaged, and 17.5% were actively disengaged.[1] We believe there’s a direct correlation between employee engagement and the degree to which people embrace and use conflict.

This is not another book with formulas for addressing conflict because it’s a good team-management strategy. Rather, approached right, conflict is a gift that every member of your team can bring to the table. We say, “Use it! Don’t defuse it!”

In this book, we provide you with simple, practical tools that you can apply with your team — or in any relationship — to make a positive impact using the natural energy of conflict to create innovative, profitable, and beautiful results. You’ll get both big-picture concepts to help you get your team to look at conflict differently, and detailed tools for how to work with and through the tension that comes up when you and your team begin embracing conflict. Throughout this book, we will demonstrate the tools with plenty of real-life business examples from our 15+ years of working with Fortune 100 companies to start-ups, illustrating what works and what doesn’t.

The Change

Imagine looking forward to your next team meeting. Imagine experiencing tension and conflict in the room and thinking, “This is going to lead to a great and innovative outcome — we just don’t know what it is yet!”

When you as a leader strive to produce a cohesive and aligned team, embracing and using conflict will help you harness the team’s potential by accessing creative breakthroughs, driving the team’s competitive advantage.

Your team, rather than deferring to the leader’s or loudest member’s opinion, will come up with creative breakthroughs together. You’ll arrive at ideas that none of you considered before walking into the room. Team momentum increases because people are inspired and engaged. No longer does one person have to pull the team along; they’re pushing ahead together.

The Model

We will walk you through our revolutionary approach to embracing conflict, our Path to Collective Creativity Team Performance Model. It takes you from your vision to that critical oh, sh*t! moment and choice point.

An oh, sh*t! moment is literally the potential power source for creative solutions. It is a rally cry for shared creativity, should you choose to listen and accept the call. Each one of these moments, if handled well, creates the possibility for an innovative, creative, and profitable result.

We’ll uncover how teams have undermined team performance by habitually opting out of conflict, using their individual communication styles to manage, avoid, or defuse conflict. We’ll introduce you to three key areas that are crucial for achieving extraordinary results by opting in and using conflict to make your team great: the ME, the WE, and the BUSINESS.

Have we convinced you yet to pick up a copy? Click the title, The Beauty of Conflict to purchase you’re your copy.


[1] “Majority of U.S. Employees Not Engaged Despite Gains in 2014” Gallup: Employee Engagement, Amy Adkins, accessed January 28, 2015, http://www.gallup.com/poll/181289/majority-employees-not-engaged-despite-gains-2014.aspx


CrisMarie Campbell and Susan Clarke

Coaches, Business Consultants, Speakers and Authors of The Beauty of Conflict

CrisMarie and Susan work leaders and teams, couples in business, and professional women.

They help turnaround dysfunctional teams into high performing, cohesive teams who trust each other, deal with differences directly, and have clarity and alignment on their business strategy so they create great results.

Check out their website: www.thriveinc.com. Connect with CrisMarie and Susan on LinkedIn. Watch their TEDx Talk: Conflict – Use It, Don’t Defuse It! Find your copy of The Beauty of Conflict: Harnessing Your Team's Competitive Advantage here.


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