Stop Avoiding Conflict

Leadership consultant Kevin Eikenberry on not making zero conflict a goal:

Put people together doing most anything for most any length of time and conflict will occur. Put people together and ask them what the challenges are at work, and conflict will always come up. People have experience and an opinion about conflict, and they don’t talk about positively. We face conflict and generally think if we could rid ourselves of it, we would be better off. Yet, we must be careful about what we ask for, because zero-conflict shouldn’t be the goal.

The Duty of Public Servants

Political commentator Walter Lippmann on the duty of public servants in a tribute to statesman John Foster Dulles (namesake of the Washington Dulles International Airport in Dulles, Virginia) who died on May 24, 1959: :

Perhaps the highest function of a public servant in a free and democratic society is to preserve its oneness as a community while he fights the battle which divide it. John Foster Dulles never lost sight of that. He never forgot, as so many public men do, that after the issue which is up for debate is settled, those who took part in the debate must still live and work together. That is the reason way among his countrymen there is no rancor, and why the sorrow of his opponents and critics is genuine.

Source: Dulles: A Tribute, Today and Tomorrow, May 26, 1959

Productive Long-term Business Relationships

Venture capitalist Ben Horowitz writes in The Hard Thing About Hard Things how he and fellow venture capitalist Marc Andreeseen have managed to work effectively together across three companies over eighteen years:

Most business relationships either become too tense to tolerate or not tense enough to be productive after a while. Either people challenge each other to the point where they don’t like each other or they become complacent about each other’s feedback and no longer benefit from the relationship. With Marc and me, even after eighteen years, he upsets me almost every day by finding something wrong in my thinking, and I do the same for him. It works.

Pork-making Without the Homage of a Tear

Novelist Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle (1905) shocked the nation with a novel revealing what went on inside the stockyards and slaughterhouses of Chicago:

It was all so very businesslike that one watched it fascinated. It was pork-making by machinery, pork-making by applied mathematics. And yet somehow the most matter-of-fact person could not help thinking of the hogs; they were so innocent, they came so very trustingly; and they were so very human in their protests—and so perfectly within their rights! They had done nothing to deserve it; and it was adding insult to injury, as the thing was done here, swinging them up in this cold-blooded, impersonal way, without pretence at apology, without the homage of a tear.

What Makes Genius, Intelligence, and Creativity

Will and Ariel Durant write in The Lessons of History (1968,)

If we put the problem further back, and ask what determines whether a challenge will or will not be met, the answer is that this depends upon the presence or absence of initiative and of creative individuals with clarity of mind and energy of will (which is almost a definition of genius,) capable of effective responses to new situations (which is almost a definition of intelligence.) If we ask what makes a creative individual, we are thrown back from history to psychology and biology—to the influence of environment and the gamble and secret of the chromosomes.

How to Lead in Times of Crisis

Leadership coach and author Lolly Daskal on how to lead in times of crisis:

Most leaders believe they’re prepared to lead through a crisis. But after working with hundreds of executives as a leadership coach, I’ve found that many of them don’t fully understand what crisis leadership entails. Faced with an actual crisis playing out in real time, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by uncertainty. Here are some touchstones to help you remember the things you need to do to maintain success—not only for yourself but also for those who are counting on you.

The Gift of Understanding

American psychologist Carl Rogers writes On Becoming a Person: A Therapist’s View of Psychotherapy (1954,)

When the other person is hurting, confused, troubled, anxious, alienated, terrified, or when he or she is doubtful of self-worth, uncertain as to identity, then understanding is called for. The gentle and sensitive companionship of an empathic stance provides illumination and healing. In such situations deep understanding is, I believe, the most precious gift one can give to another.

How Productive Failure Leads to Better Learning

Lifehacker’s Courtney Seiter on positioning a task with a learning mindset:

  • Doing things you suck at can still be enjoyable.
  • Doing things you enjoy, can often lead to not sucking at them.
  • Life is long, sucking is temporary.

It harder and harder to be okay with risking failure.

Simplicity of Design, Complexity of Data

Edward Tufte in The Visual Display of Quantitative Information (2001,)

Good design has two key elements. Graphical elegance is often found in simplicity of design and complexity of data. Visually attractive graphics also gather power from content and interpretations beyond the immediate display of some numbers. The best graphics are about the useful and important, about life and death, about the universe. Beautiful graphics do not traffic with the trivial.

The Scientist-Practitioner Divide

Much has been written about the scientist-practitioner divide in occupational and organizational psychology:

Practitioners and researchers have often held stereotypical views of each other, with practitioners viewing researchers as interested only in methodological rigor whilst failing to concern themselves with anything in the real world, and researchers damning practitioners for embracing the latest fads, regardless of theory or evidence.

Source: Penny Moyle & John Hackston (2018) Personality Assessment for Employee Development: Ivory Tower or Real World?, Journal of Personality Assessment, 100:5, 507-517