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The Art of Supportive Confrontation: An Essential Element in Creative Conflict

Flip Brown

January 27, 2016

"Wouldn't it be amazing if, in the initial interviews, your potential supervisor would say something like 'We're a little unusual here. We actively practice creative conflict, and in case you haven't come across that term I'll define how it works. We're willing to tolerate reasonable unease in having different thoughts, opinions, or feelings because we know that if we don't we're going to short-circuit the best solutions. We expect everyone—from the top down and the bottom up—to practice what we call 'appropriate professional vulnerability.' Because we are committed to work with a shared set of values, a clear mission, and a compelling vision, we don't make or take things personally. When we get stuck, we get coached, and when we succeed we know it is because everyone was able to move through the process without avoidance, collusion, or negativity.' Wow! Heck, I'd want to work there."

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