My job is mostly to manage multiple teams and get them to perform above the sum of the parts. There are times I have succeeded and times I have said to myself “that didn’t work …. try something else.” Of course the search for the something else has me googling (or duckduckgo if thats you) to see what others did. Sometimes it entails me taking a course (like one this summer on Agile Coaching.). As part of the self training there was a video on why SNL was such a success. There was the notion that everyone had a say, and you had to speak up and be listened to.

But I started thinking, what does that actually mean? And is there something deeper to just being heard. Of course that same week for some dumb reason in my Youtube what to watch next was a VH1 Behind the music. I thought simply, wow I know that story (without watching it) that band fought a lot, but were so creative. Then I started thinking about a lot of bands, made me most of them have conflicts, and did that conflict add to their music creativity.

The Beatles, Eagles, Pink Floyd, Fleetwood Mac, Heart, Guns N’ Roses, Black Crowes, Motley Crue, Van Halen, Poison, The Police, Meatloaf/Jim Stienman, the Go-Gos, Beach Boys, Kinks, Everly Brothers, Journey, Styx, Kiss, Twisted Sister, Genesis, Asia, Aerosmith, Yes, Bon Jovi…. I think I could go on and on. Sorry if I am only naming bands in my era, but those are who I know. Yes I dating myself but did the conflict drive their creativity. In some cases the creativity was there and conflict came later (Beatles) and in other cases the creativity was with an outside writer and conflict came later (Bon Jovi.)

I dug into a few of the stories, and think the reader should also. But a list of examples of success with conflict doesn’t mean the finding conflict guarantees success. So often you wonder where does conflict come from. Conflict often comes from the diversity of thought. If two people disagree (diversity of thought) a few things can happen. Either they can resolve it, or it can escalate. So I start asking myself maybe its the diversity of thoughts that drive creativity.

When you start listening to bands talk about their song writing process a story goes something like this “So and So comes in with a rif, or a progression and then I follow up with something to add to it”. So two thoughts, possibly different but instead combined start the creative process. Now, of course when you watch a TV show about a band or an interview the musicians say these things, they are giving the positive spin on it. You have no idea if there was a fight, argument etc. and it sounds like the SNL theory on teams. If member of the bad get a say, the creativity blossoms.

Of course when the band spills into total conflict they collapse. On SNL they had Lorne Michaels who was the friendly dictator (to use open source terminology) who kept the team going. So this made me look at my role, or the role of management. If creativity comes from diverse thought and diverse thought needs to be managed not to turn into conflict is a team leaders role to obtain diversity and control conflict?

I learned from previous managers that the to success of a team was that a manager would need to get the obstacles out of your employees way so they are productive. There is two obstacles I now need to ensure that are out of my teams way, the first is to put my employees in a situation where everyone feels comfortable to speak up (diversity of thought) and lastly to prevent conflict of people willing to speak up. Another tool to add to my toolkit.

This opinion is mine, and mine only, my current or former employers have nothing to do with it. I do not write for any financial gain, I do not take advertising and any product company listed was not done for payment. But if you do like what I write you can donate to the charity I support (with my wife who passed away in 2017) Morgan Stanley’s Children’s Hospital or donate to your favorite charity. I pay to host my site out of my own pocket, my intention is to keep it free.  I do read all feedback, I mostly wont post any of them

This Blog is a labor of love, and was originally going to be a book.  With the advent of being able to publish yourself on the web I chose this path.  I will write many of these and not worry too much about grammar or spelling (I will try to come back later and fix it) but focus on content.  I apologize in advance for my ADD as often topics may flip.  I hope one day to turn this into a book and or a podcast, but for now it will remain a blog.