Let's return one more time to our example of needing to reduce division expenses by 10 percent. The team needed to come together around a clear, elevating goal. The ground rules were that all discussion would take place in front of everyone in the conference room without any sidebar commentary on how much “fat” there supposedly was in someone else's budget or how uncooperative another team member was being. People either said what they had to say in the room in front of everyone as part of a productive debate, or they wouldn't say anything at all.

As the leader of the discussion, I knew that my colleagues had to stop engaging in turf battles around how they couldn't cut expenses—or if they did, that they would ...

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