Chapter 20Clarity and ConflictExpose and Master Necessary Conflict—Don't Avoid It

What Everyone Is Thinking

Wow, we've been waiting for a decision on the strategy for a really long time…I wish the executives would finally give us the answer on this…I'm not sure what to work on. I'm not sure what to tell customers and partners…I guess I'll just continue to wait…

Uncertainty Is Expensive

What are the unresolved strategic issues in your company? What are the decisions that never seem to get closed? Are we a product or service company? Should we do an exclusive agreement? Should we be selling through different partners? Should we upgrade our platform, or build on the one we have? Should we change our pricing for global customers or optimize regionally?

As a leader, one of your biggest responsibilities is to remove uncertainty. You need to make the big decisions. Period. Don't let them fester.

Uncertainty is a huge hidden expense and a generator of stress and low productivity in your team. It is very un-motivating to get to work and not know what you should be working on. When people are confused, there's the obvious expense of work not getting done—as uncertainty causes people to wait for decisions instead of working. But there is another damaging and expensive side of uncertainty: people doing the wrong work.

The Wrong Work

It's not strategic questions going unanswered that cause the problem. It's that they get answered every day, differently, by frontline employees who are ...

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