When was the last time you were passionate enough about an issue, idea or solution to fight for it? I’m not talking passive, re-frame your argument and try again fighting but finger-waving, red-faced, raised-voices fighting (you can replace “fighting” with “conflict” if that makes you more comfortable–same point is made either way)?
I’m wondering today how often we let ourselves get so passionate and wrapped up in any part of our work that’d we be willing to fight for it. Sadly, I don’t think it’s all that often.
Throughout my career, I’ve been taught not to fight openly over ideas and concepts because of how others might respond to the fight. Most people make conflict personal and they hold a grudge for a long time. So, I was taught not to fight in the long term best interest of my own career. What about the cost to long-term best interest of the organization or progress?
What you discover over time is that the best way to avoid a fight is to not allow yourself to get so attached to your work that it’s worth fighting for. So, we try to become a little more “even keeled” and dispassionate about our work rationalizing that if we aren’t so wrapped up in our ideas and work, then it won’t hurt as much when someone crushes it for political reasons. And, we won’t be compelled to fight.
So, the cycle goes.
I think it might be time for fighting. In a world that is moving faster and changing at an exponential pace, we can’t afford organizations full of corporate stepford wives. Instead, we need an army of fired up, passionate innovators who are hatching ideas that are worth fighting for. We need corporate “fight clubs” where the first rule is “We don’t talk about fight club” (at least not to the outside world) but we all know that fighting means we are close to the work that matters.
Brilliant, beautiful breakthroughs aren’t born without conflict. Conflict is the pathway to innovation.
Maybe you disagree? Let’s fight about it.