Tip #19: Engage in Conflict. You'll Save Time.

April 15, 2009 -- Sal Silvester

People often look to time management techniques when forced to do more with less. But, consider a different approach. Consider engaging in conflict to save time.
Think about it. If a decision is made during a meeting and participants did not share opposing points of view, it is likely that there will be a lack of commitment around the decision and the decision will continue to be revisited again and again - ultimately wasting time and resources. But, if people show up to meetings prepared to engage in conflict, opposing viewpoints will be discussed and people will more likely be committed to implementing the decision, reducing the time it takes to ultimately take action.
While simple in concept, it's more difficult to implement. Here are a few ideas on how to engage in conflict constructively during your next team meeting.

  • Stay focused on the issue at hand when discussing differences of opinions and ideas. Avoid personal attacks.
  • Give permission to each other to share opposing viewpoints when the room is silent.
  • If you are the meeting facilitator - ask each person directly if they have ideas, thoughts, or opinions prior to finalizing the decision.
  • Formalize ground rules to guide the team during discussions so that people understand what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior when engaging in conflict.
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