The Right Fight: How Great Leaders Use Healthy Conflict to Drive Performance, Innovation, and Value

Saj-Nicole Joni, Author, Damon Beyer, Author . Harper $26.99 (234p) ISBN 978-0-06-171716-1

Business strategists and consultants Joni and Beyer argue that carefully created and managed tensions in the workplace can be a propulsive aid in driving performance. The authors state that alignment—agreement on mission, strategy, and company goals—gets a business only so far; strategically steered conflict can create breakthrough performance, deliver lasting innovation, and groom the next generation of leaders. The authors offer six guiding principles: make sure the fight matters; focus on the future; pursue a noble purpose; keep conflict sport, not war; structure formally, but work informally; and turn pain into gain. Elucidating key points are numerous case studies of successful creative tension (Julie Taymor's production team for the Broadway play The Lion King , Doug Conant's management of Campbell Soup) and failures (Larry Summers's overly aggressive leadership style at Harvard University). The authors also provide a series of questions for managers to determine if the fight is worth pursuing. Joni and Beyer make a convincing and counterintuitive argument that instigating dissent, if done selectively, can produce big results. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 11/16/2009
Release date: 02/01/2010
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