Its funny, when I first signed up for Twitter I was fairly convinced it was worthless. So worthless in fact that I ended up completely deleting my account! 18 months later Twitter was still there and growing and I knew I had missed something so I signed back up and even was able to get my old username and everything. My re-entry into the world of Twitter pretty closely corresponded with our move from SLC to Boise, and as I was determined to make some use out of twitter so one of the first things I did was follow everyone I could find who was from Boise. I probably follow 100 people (or more) from Boise and know maybe 10 of them. But now, in a small way, they are apart of my life (and if they followed me back, I’m apart of theirs).
One of the guys I’m following is Tony (@Schlanghole). He owns a successful business here in Boise (don’t bother heading over there if you’re on an iPhone… the whole site is Flash, except the footer. Boo, I know.). Tony recently started a blog to share some of his thoughts and musing on life and business. Last night he posted a great, uh… post on his staunch “No Prick Rule“. I loved it! Basically Tony believes that the people you hire matter. Not just what they do (which is important) but who they are (which matters more). I think we should all adopt this rule.
But it got me thinking about how different people interact with one another in team environments. My personality type has been known to cause more than a little conflict on teams. And I’m no exception. Playing devil’s advocate comes very easily to me and I have to keep my desire for conflict in check at times.
Having said that though, I know that I do my best creative problem-solving when I have 2 or 3 or even 4 divergent views being advocated for vigorously by invested parties. I call those times of discussion–those times of conflict, creative conflict. I love creative conflict. Its a tight rope though. It can easily just become conflict with winners and losers, victors and… well, you know. Creative conflict isn’t about winners and losers. Its about solutions and win-win. Its about that 5th way (in this case) that brings everyones ideas to the table and finds the best way to move forward for everyone.
I know… it sounds ridiculous. There are always winners and losers. And I suppose that’s true. But when you work somewhere that has a “No Prick Rule” you’ll care less when you lose… and more importantly you’ll care less when you win. And that’s when “creative conflict” can happen. I wish there were more business owners who followed Tony’s philosophy.