“Truth springs from argument amongst friends.”
If an organization has become saddled with a culture of polite talk, superficial congeniality, and low psychological safety, how can a leader spark a heightened level of candor? What specific tools can leaders employ to ignite a lively, yet constructive scuffle? To answer this question, let us begin by examining the story of how one chief executive created a decision process that was “confrontational by design.”1
In early 1997, Steven Caufield, the CEO of a leading shipbuilding firm, began to consider the formation of a strategic alliance that would strengthen his firm’s ability to win the intense competition to design and build a new generation of vessels ...