Want better creativity in your team’s performance? Encourage conflict.

I am not suggesting that you hand people broken pool cues and have “tryouts” like we saw in the movie, The Dark Knight. What I am suggesting is that you create a culture that is open to debate, conflict, and alternative points of view.

The first step in this process is proper team selection. You want a diverse set of individuals that bring multiple perspectives, backgrounds, and expertise to the table. The second step is making sure your team demands a “safe environment” in which to operate. Those that do not adhere to this rule are either coached to change or asked to leave. Third, there needs to be role clarity where everyone has a chance to be the expert depending on the topic as well as a follower when they are not. Fourth, conflict resolution must be addressed. How you make decisions (unanimous, majority, expert rule, etc.) and being consistent is critical to team optimization.

If you have a team that agrees all the time, you have people that are too homogenous or too scared to say anything about it. Pick a fight every now and then to ensure creativity flows.


William Wrigley Jr., the American chewing gum tycoon, once noted that business is built by men who disagree, and that “When two men always agree, one of them is unnecessary.”