Saturday, July 10, 2021


Opening up the tensions should mean things can be resolved, dealing with conflicts effectively means to reach a state of unity and harmony.

Whether we like it or not, as long as humans are unique, their mindsets, opinions, cultures, lives, and views etc, are equally unique and diversified. Perhaps conflicts or tensions are inevitable. That results in both collaboration and competition depending on the context and situations, as well as how effectively people deal with them. 

From top-down, leadership is about envisioning and communication to define and solve problems successfully. High-effective leaders dig into how the conflicts that happen in the organization actually impede realizing strategic objectives, critical success factors, necessary conditions to growth, etc, so they can break down static, stale, and slow patterns, and be able to make continuous adjustment, improve organizational responsiveness and manageability.

Agility tension- the tension between traditional management based on reductionist logic and digital management based on agility philosophy:
Traditional command-control management style is top-down, manually pushing the organization to reach certain goals. The problem is that you can control their behavior to a certain degree, but you cannot completely manipulate their mindset and attitude. Now, many companies follow the agility principle to improve organizational adaptability. The problem is that sometimes different managers are pulling in different directions as they have different viewpoints. If you can obtain a reasonable compromise, come to a different balance point between the forces and deal with them skillfully, the solution will be good for all. However, in many situations, there are a couple of risks. One is that the holder of one viewpoint will have too much power and will ride roughshod over the needs of other stakeholders in the decision. If their biased view is not the most premium one, that will cause the problem for all other parties and stifle progressive changes. Another is that the competing forces will fail to recognize an acceptable compromise, they spend too much time and energy on argument, create unhealthy conflicts or tensions, cause unnecessary pains, and delay effective problem-solving

True agility embraces Interaction, Improvement, and innovation. Healthy agility tension stimulates positive change, drives continuous improvement and catalyzes innovation. If there is a conflict of interest, then there is no empirical approach that will make it go away. You need to get to the "what is in it for me?" of the contenders. You need to work more on developing the unity of purpose. If there are two or more compelling solutions, devise experiments to try both ideas; and then decide what looks more promising for supporting the stated purpose, based on the information acquired with the experiments. If you can't do that, then ultimately it is the senior leadership's call to define what the purpose is - and maybe take hard decisions, like evaluating if all staff are really contributing to that purpose.

Creative tension
- the tension sometimes between the creative and the administrative tasks that business management need to take care of for striking the balance of process and innovation. Organizations need to support the process of improvisation, and organizational leaders should read the culture expression - have you seen the creative tension through the abundance of digital flow: information flow, idea flow, and talent flow, and can you help employees step out of their comfort zone to be who they really are. You can sense the creative tension when the balance is made and the cohesive strategy is achieved. Having conflicts in the team is sometimes productive as well if it could lead to open-minded discussion for alternative problem solving and it creates a sense of healthy competition in the team, and a number of times, a lot of new ideas come up for some very difficult tasks. But the other times, creativity without structure will distract people or management from achieving some well-set goals, thus, it requires the executive to coach the organization how to resolve such conflicts in favor of reaching the objectives, critical success factors, necessary conditions, etc, for the long term success and getting to true organizational agility and innovation.

Organizations have different focus and unique business competency. So they want to spend more time on different plateaus of stability - a production organization may favor most time in the specialization phase and aim for a broad plateau there; a development organization might favor having most time in the innovation phase and aim for a broad plateau there instead. In either case, the business management needs to be able to enforce integrative diversity by breaking down silos, handling management paradoxes and dealing with innovation dilemmas strategically. The balance is achieved via inspiring freedom and enforcing discipline; and the harmony is based on continuous idea-sharing and constructive criticism.

Governance tensions - the tensions related to the clarity of roles and policies of the circle: The management keeps the organization moving forward; the governance steers the business in the right direction by ensuring decision effectiveness and consistency at the different hierarchical levels and enforcing risk and compliance discipline. The governance bodies from the boardroom to diverse committees would contemplate: Are the executives at the helm of the organization or in charge of silos or divisions aware of the true implications of the existing structure in terms of adverse impact on the flow of customer value? Does everyone feel safe to optimize away or simplify their role, trusting that the organization will apply their skills and ingenuity elsewhere rather than eliminating them? Do they have the time, resources and support to run improvements? Do they have a clear grasp of all the sources of waste, delays, quality variance, etc.? What proportion of their time is devoted to sharpening the saw?

Effective governance discipline harnesses transparency, optimizes prioritization, and enforces enterprise cohesion. Tactical or governance tensions are brought to higher circles by the rep links and down to lower circles by the lead links. Using these double links, a role can have tension resolved anywhere in the organization. There are many levers for prioritization, including each individual making that decision, being required to give transparency into your priorities, and align to circle priorities to achieve multi-faceted business values. Smart corporations, and shareholders, know that they live in this world too and focusing only on short-term economics can lead to negative values that may outweigh finances in the long-term. Thus, by dealing with conflicts and handling both management and governance conflicts effectively, organizations can improve strategy success rate to generate utility value, customer value, brand value, etc. If stakeholder values and issues are well managed they should become enhancements to shareholder values.

Opening up the tensions should mean things can be resolved, dealing with conflicts effectively means to reach a state of unity and harmony. But does the system understand alternative management? Does it lower the stats? Does it harness mutual understanding via conflict management or does it nurture creativity via dealing with tensions well? The inevitable range, breadth, depth, and pace of uncontrollable factors acting on any organizations across vertical sectors mean identifying business vulnerability and constant fine-tuning are essential to improve the organizational agility, intelligence, and maturity.


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