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Published: August 24, 2010
 / Autumn 2010 / Issue 60

 
 

Getting Tensions Right

The sweet spot is the dynamic of being productively tense — where the fights are primarily about the right performance tensions, where the fights are conducted in the right way, and where there is sufficient alignment to make dissent and disagreement work in favor of better decision making, faster learning, and more effective solutions.

Every CEO must master the management of tensions, raising and lowering them. This is one of the most important tools a top leader can use to realize a company’s and team’s true potential. Chances are, there is at least one thing your team is fighting about that’s not worth the effort, and one thing the team has let pass that needs to be addressed now.

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Author Profiles:

  • Ken Favaro is a senior partner with Booz & Company based in New York. He leads the firm’s work in enterprise strategy and finance.
  • Saj-nicole Joni is a business strategist and confidential advisor to CEOs and their top executives around the globe. She is the founder and CEO of Cambridge International Group.
  • Examples in this article were drawn from The Right Fight: How Great Leaders Use Healthy Conflict to Drive Performance, Innovation, and Value, by Saj-nicole Joni and Damon Beyer (HarperBusiness, 2010), and The Three Tensions: Winning the Struggle to Perform without Compromise, by Dominic Dodd and Ken Favaro (Jossey-Bass, 2007).
 
 
 
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