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Published: February 23, 2010
 / Spring 2010 / Issue 58

 
 

Jack’s Right Fight

More right fights would take place in this company, generally over how to fulfill other seemingly impossible goals. Sometimes, as with this fight, the solution would embody multiple points of view. Sometimes there were clear winners and losers. But the understanding was now ingrained in the enterprise: Only by laying out their disagreements openly, and focusing the fights on principles instead of politics, could people create an ending in which everyone won something.  

Reprint No. 10107

Author ProfileS:

  • Saj-nicole Joni is a business strategist and advisor to top executives around the globe. She is the founder and CEO of Cambridge International Group, and the author of The Third Opinion: How Successful Leaders Use Outside Insight to Create Superior Results (Portfolio, 2004).
  • Damon Beyer is a senior executive advisor with Booz & Company in Houston and a founding member of the Katzenbach Center.
  • This article was adapted from Joni and Beyer’s The Right Fight: How Great Leaders Use Healthy Conflict to Drive Performance, Innovation, and Value (Harper Business, 2010).

 
 
 
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Resources

  1. Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan, Confronting Reality: Doing What Matters to Get Things Right (Crown Business, 2004): How to look clearly at the issues facing you, rather than live in a cocoon of comfortable assumptions.
  2. Saj-nicole Joni, The Third Opinion: How Successful Leaders Use Outside Insight to Create Superior Results (Portfolio, 2004): To navigate the complexity of right fights, you need a strong inner circle and advisors who will tell you the unvarnished truth.
  3. Saj-nicole Joni and Damon Beyer, The Right Fight: How Great Leaders Use Healthy Conflict to Drive Performance, Innovation, and Value (Harper Business, 2010): A guide to constructive conflict and its benefits.
  4. Zia Khan and Jon Katzenbach, “Are You Killing Enough Ideas?” s+b, Autumn 2009: Informal but candid battles that help companies focus on the right innovations.
  5. Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen, Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most (Viking Penguin, 1999): Why you can’t fight right fights without the personal capability of having straightforward conversations.
  6. 12 Angry Men. Directed by Sidney Lumet. MGM, 1957: Classic film about a fight worth fighting.
  7. For more thought leadership on this topic, see the s+b website at: www.strategy-business.com/strategy_and_leadership.