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Power Up: Transforming Organizations Through Shared Leadership by Allan R. Cohen, David L. Bradford

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ADDRESSING CONFLICT

Movement toward a shared responsibility system is bound to bump up against conflict. At times, it will appear that things are falling apart. There will be disagreements about strategic direction, who has influence, and many specific implementation decisions. Interpersonal tensions increase. These differences can either block movement toward collaboration or release energy and allow change to move forward. The leader must recognize the value of conflict and set up processes that turn its energy toward productive purposes. Unless the organization can resolve differences, change will stall. Similarly, management teams need to find ways to work through emerging conflicts. This allows for more open, direct discussion and enables the team to address increasingly more central issues.

The operating committee (OpCom) at Pharmco had begun a major strategic planning and transformational team-building effort aimed at creating shared responsibility. With the help of a strategic consulting firm and an organizational consultant, Lincoln Turner, it had completed a first off-site meeting and worked through some difficult relationship issues involving the CEO, Gene Roberts, the team, and the COO, Bob Mitchell. Team members had come away with assignments to investigate some of the strategic options that had been discussed, and had agreed to ask their direct reports to complete ...

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