Is there enough task-oriented “conflict” in online networks?

shreddingplussingI watched a really good webinar from David Burkus this past week: 3 Ways Leaders Kill Creativity (And How to Get It To Thrive). While I had several takeaways, I was particularly drawn to the second way leaders kill creativity: getting along.

If you follow my writing, you know that I find there to be a lot of surface conversation on social networks. (Here and here.) During the hour, David reminded us that some level of disagreement in a group or on a team is good when it’s used to enhance the creative process and arrive at new and better solutions. After listening, I wondered how the “getting along” idea transfers to online networks.  Is there enough task-oriented “conflict” in online networks. (Mind you, task-focused conflict is different from personal conflict.)

To bring this idea of task-oriented conflict to life, David shares the story of how Pixar employs daily “shredding sessions” when creating a film. (You can read more about the process in Ed Catmull’s book Creativity, Inc.) During the process of critique – really fault-finding – the “shredder” critiques the idea but also provides at least one suggestion for making the process or product better. This is referred to as plussing. The process is not about “being right.” Rather, it’s about demonstrating that you care so much for the success of the project that you’re willing to come up with ideas and suggestions for making it even better. The person who’s ideas are being critiqued always has the prerogative and autonomy to utilize or not utilize any and all suggestions. It is through this challenging of ideas that we grow and enhance creativity with the end result being better products and processes.

Do we engage in “shredding” and “plussing” within our own online networks? How would the conversation change if we challenged  each other’s thinking more often?

As a leader, do you give your people opportunities to “shred” and “plus”? How do you foster a culture where everyone comes to the table with an open mind to critiques designed to improve the idea, improve the organization and ultimately improve individuals? How do you ensure your team has the skills to engage in “shredding” and “plussing”? (One of those crucial skills is not judging too early – the third way leaders kill creativity.)

Check out the full webinar for more ways to improve your leadership practice: 3 Ways Leaders Kill Creativity (And How to Get It To Thrive)



2 comments on “Is there enough task-oriented “conflict” in online networks?

  1. I wonder what percentage of educators see the improvement of their organization as a whole or the growth of their peers as a personal win? How much do building or classroom doors impede our growth?

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