Produce Enlightened Innovation Using Conflict

This piece is adapted from the show notes to Business Second Opinion Podcast episode #107. Use the embedded player below to listen now or subscribe to future episodes on the podcast platform of your choice.

Response to HBR Article: How to Handle a Disagreement on Your Team by Jeanne Brett & Stephen B Goldberg. Record: Nov 19, 2017. Uploads: Nov 30

Creating a Culture and Capability of External Considering

There are four levels of being considerate: Kindness, Empathy, Compassion, Caring, and there are effects of each.

Conflict and failure as the only way to success is a machine worldview where things cannot learn and change, much less evolve. Conflict is an artificial idea formed from a small scope of considering and taking into account.

Three Worldviews

  1. Conflict is between two people or sides and they have to find a way for both to be happy. It requires compromise and tradeoffs.
  2. Stephen Covey added a Win/Win idea so that both can come out whole. A few now say win/win/win. These are still about the two parties or groups, not the living systems involved
  3. Can develop human beings so they can be self-managing, toward serving the living system in which seeming conflict exists. It is a capability to be built not a conflict to be resolved. This worldview assumes seeming conflict is a combination of lack of being able to see the working of the whole and how it will be successful for the parties and the whole or from lack of capability to manage one’s reactivity and ego.


This HBR article is based on an outdated worldview of the study of rats.

Authors premises

  • Conflict is between two parties who have opposing views that seem irreconcilable and so need a way to break the impasse.
  • Managers can play an authoritarian role deciding what is right for the parties involved, the business and the team or they can mediate with clear and jointly accepted processes. The assumption is that outside interventions are necessary to manage the conflicted process.
  • Venting is a good way to reduce emotion
  • The manager who is mediating can see and manage their own biases
  • Needs to be managed well to avoid pitfalls, allowing to be drawn out, using non-neutral settings, and contingency agreements for future events we cannot control.


  1. 3rd party neutrality and miracle worker is needed. Skill is in the 3rd party and not to be developed in others.
  2. This is a behavioral worldview rather than developmental one. John Watson said you cannot study or manage what we cannot see so nothing else counts. E.g. inner processing.


It is education and development that is needed to resolve conflict, rather than an outside mediator. And it needs to be a part of the culture creation processes where:

  • Internal locus of control — nonattached integrity and inner aims, self-managing
  • External Considering: kindness, to caring
  • Personal agency

External stakeholders act as the reconciling reference, not one another and the issues—three lines of work.

Ongoing development: every business needs to work on shifting mental capacity, therefore the emotional capacity of their organization members.

Learn more about Business Second Opinion podcast and find the latest episodes here.




Sr Fellow Social Innovation, Babson |# 1 AmazonBest Selling/Multi-Award Winning Author | Regenerative Paradigm Educator

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Carol Sanford

Carol Sanford

Sr Fellow Social Innovation, Babson |# 1 AmazonBest Selling/Multi-Award Winning Author | Regenerative Paradigm Educator

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