I think we have a good level of appreciation now for the importance of conflict in organizations and for ways of working towards distributive justice and procedural justice. So let's hear from practitioners of what they do to create a healthy conflict culture and how they create an environment where important conflicts are identified and addressed and where people feel comfortable and confident to work through those issues. I talked with Bocconi Alumni and I asked them what do they do to create a healthy conflict culture in international intercultural organizations. I think good conflict is not only good, but needed. I sometimes call it divergence convergence. If you want to have good conflict you need to allow the space both in the agenda, but also in terms of the emotions for that moment of conflict to happen. Though, whenever we talk about something many times I say, okay, we have a base plan. A discussion has been very helpful. We have a base hypothesis of what we should be doing. Can we now stop for a second and diverge? So, everyone that agrees with me or with the hypothesis, please shut up. And I only want now on, for half an hour with those that disagree can talk. And at the beginning, it's a bit odd because then there is a moment of silence but then someone has to start. And then all of a sudden, people feel that in order to be helpful they need to tell me why they disagree. And and at that point, the conversation is very interesting because then you really hear those things that otherwise people would not put on the table. And sometimes that helps you to correct the plan, sometimes you have a good discussion but you still believe that your original, hypothesis was right and you move on. Though good conflict does not happen if you don't allow, if you don't create a culture for that conflict to be heard and to be put on the table. I try and think about conflict in three ways. One is conflict of data. My data is better than yours. One is conflict of opinion. My opinion is better than your opinion. And then the third one is the conflict of power. I'm more important than you and therefore my decision is better than yours. And so If you reduce those in three buckets it actually takes away, already, an edge off. Everybody hates everybody else, which is why we're not agreeing. I think just having some objectivity including the power dimension making that very objective, in my mind helps me deal with it. There are people, believe me, I don't like, that I work with, even today. But, the issue cannot be about me I don't like you because you're an idiot. The issue needs to be, let's look at the objectives, Data, and the facts that we have on the table and I think with that, you actually take away a whole lot of the, personality dimension, the style dimension, the cultural dimension on how people get to resolve issues, etc. And you get put on the table so what is it that we're trying to, that we're trying to solve for. It's a question that I often ask the people when I hear them saying, we can't get to a solution, we can't get to a solution is what are we solving for? Very often, naming that is a bit of a challenge once you name it becomes much easier. It's critical that there's trust in the team. The people need to separate the topic for which we can engage and even get emotional and occasionally even say a bit of a direct comment that maybe after half an hour we regret but that's okay, if there is trust. People have to know that in the end we're here for the same purpose, we are here with good intent. And we all are pushing in the same direction that a, a certain level of tension is healthy tension to get to a better goal. It is also very important when the conflict is not about individuals, about yourself or myself, but it is about the task that we have. And so being able to separate, our egos, our career. Sometimes the bad conflict is because people are afraid for themselves, are afraid for the consequences of what is being discussed can have on their career or on their compensation or on their stature or credibility or whatever else. So, the more you are able to separate the personal considerations, reassure people that no matter what the outcome will be, we are still together, we are still a team, the more the conflict moves away from bad into good. And if you create the right environment for that healthy disagreement to happen it actually makes the decisions much better. So, I use divergence, convergence, as an organized way to talk, which I think is very similar to what you were referring to on good and bad conflict. It's one of the things, eople not talking to each other or people not being able to deal with conflict or coming to me to complain about somebody without engaging with the person. It's probably one of my triggers, it's probably one of the things that will make me think okay, we're not going in a kindergarten anymore. You know, you're grown up you're going to have to solve that conflict as a grown up. Very often you have meetings where people are on the phone and when they're on the phone, God knows what they're doing. They might be cleaning up their inbox, I know I do that sometimes. They might be cleaning up their inbox, I know I do that sometimes. They might be putting you on mute and doing something completely different or they might be listening and disagreeing but say nothing about it. Hm. And so, it's really across the world is how do you tap into that, actually somebody there is violently disagreeing they're just not even saying anything. That's how much they're disagreeing, how do you bring that to surface and how do you make that into something that you can deal with, rather than something that festers without you knowing about it. You've gotta be clear on what you're asking and how you're going to be able to hold people accountable for delivering it. If I think about dealing with my team and I have people based in the US. Right now, in Singapore and in Continental Europe if I'm meeting with my team. in Continental Europe if I'm meeting with my team. I'll try to be very clear about what a delivery is but also I'll follow, up and say well this is what we’ve agreed. This is what everybody needs to do by a certain time. While I leave a lot of freedom for people to get to the answer or to the in the way that they want. I guess there has to be a task on accountability and, and occasionally you have people that do not agree with the believer of all, and will delay but that's how you catch it. So that's how you catch people that you can control. Okay. That's how you catch it. It becomes more complicated, when it's in the wider organization. Hm. when it's something which is further away from what you can see. People always know, and, actually, different layers of the organization, people know when things are not happening or when people disagree with a certain direction. And then I'll say, there is a huge amount to be said about having, a network in the company, which doesn't mean, it's only the network of the people I need, but it's a network of the people that can tell me what's really going on on the ground because we're always going to be blind and we're always going to be removed as leaders. But actually keeping in touch and having a few people that you can trust and you can pick up the phone and have a conversation and say, what are you hearing, what's happening? Make it non-threatening of course, make it not like come and tell me about your boss because I kind of have some doubts. But there is a way to stay in touch with the mood of the organization, to understand what people are saying and how change is being perceived. For sure there are some countries where I don't need to encourage divergence because it happens very naturally and for sure Germany's one of those. Because people are trained or the UK, people are trained to debate, to talk, to some other occasion, some other cultures, it's a bit more difficult. I really believe there are few things you can do to create that environment. First of all, it's very important you make clear that the divergence of the conflict is not about in the end who is guilty, who is right. So I always say listen, I mean the highest paid is always the one to take the blame and usually it’s me. Of course I also have a boss, so in some occasion it is his fault but most of the time is my fault. So you remove the fear the people have, the conflict may bring bad consequences for themselves. And then as as we were discussing before you need to allow time for the divergence. If you always want to close every conversation as fast as possible, if you always want to come to the decision as fast as possible there is no time for people to diverge. Now, not always do I have an hour to spend on the debate, so I need to choose on which topics I want the divergence and which topics I'm pretty much convinced everything's clear and we need to move on. In that case, I don't encourage the divergence because I think we know what to do. In other cases, I allow for time for that divergence to happen. And then you need to add little symbolic gestures that you need to do to facilitate the divergence. I always carry a little card in my wallet in which I have the three or four things in which I believe, one of which is we all speak up and we all try to get to the truth as fast as possible. So when someone says listen Gianni, on this point I disagree with you. Before I answer it, I go and hand them a card that pays them a free coffee and say thank you very much. I mean this is appreciated that you, so you need, and then people talk, when I leave, people talk about, you know this crazy Italian that came over, I told he was wrong and he gave me a free coffee. So, it becomes a bit contagious when, when you do it. It’s not something that happens overnight. It's something that is a culture. You need to create a culture where good conflict is accepted and welcome. And as well know, cultures are not born overnight you need to seed them and put water on them, and they flourish over time. One of the themes that you see occurring again and again in those interviews is this idea of standard rules for conflict. And I think that's a really important take away for us to remember. Now clearly, you need to show some level of respect for cultural norms and conventions for conflict resolution, but if you behaved completely differently. Depending on whether you're talking with, Chinese, or Indians, or Australians, or Canadians; or accountants and salespeople; or men and women. If you did that, that would be a problem. Why? Well, because you're basically not helping people work through conflicts across cultural barriers and divides. If you apply unique methods of conflict resolution, if you are helping Germans resolve German problems in the German way, then you basically accommodated. And once your followers are actually experiencing conflict across cultural groups, between cultural groups. Then they're hitting a wall because they don't have a method, they don't have a way of dealing with those situations. In our globalized economy, which requires more often than not, that we collaborate across cultural boundaries. You really want to develop your followers’ capacity for dealing with cross cultural conflicts that will invariably arise in those collaborations. In that context, creating a healthy conflict culture, means that as a leader, you want to create a shared set of rules and standards for how to deal with conflicts that all of your followers can actually commit to. That they can apply more or less universally and that they can use to bridge cultural differences. Both within the organization, and when dealing with external stakeholders.