|What Works |
Each edition of this newsletter contains a section I call "What Works."
Most editions include sections from one of two longer articles I'm writing. Why Organizations Thrive and Why Organizations Go Off Course detail lessons I learned while growing the Oregon League of Conservation Voters (OLCV), buttressed by my observations of dozens of other groups both in Oregon and across the country.
Collectively, I believe these lessons are a very useful set of principles that any Executive Director can use to improve their organization's capacity to fulfill its mission.
This month's lesson is Why Organizations Go Off Course Lesson 4: Don't Avoid Internal Conflict
Organizations that develop a culture of avoiding conflict almost always suffer in the long run.
This is true within individual organizations and with coalitions.
I was once responsible for a coalition that needed to set some policy positions.
After an important meeting at which we'd set some positions, I walked back to my office with the leader of a coalition member. I asked him how he thought the meeting went.
His response: "I was really upset with the decision we made to X."
I was perplexed because I clearly remembered when the issue of X came up that he didn't say a word.
"But you didn't say anything!," I replied. 'If you disagreed with the potential decision, why didn't you speak up?"
"I didn't want to make anyone upset," he replied.
Of course, he'd wound up upset, and because his organization was going to disagree with the coalition decision, it had set us up for even more conflict in the long run. Indeed, it took nearly a year to work through the all the problems created by this "avoidance of conflict."
So how can we tell good and bad conflict apart? And how can we encourage good conflict?
Read the rest of the article.
Download the article as a PDF.