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…So I have made a career out of existing in the top-right quadrant of the Thomas-Killman conflict resolution spectrum (see image below). Given two (or more) competing objectives – no matter how far apart – I figure out a way to bring everyone together and leave (mostly) happy about the end resolution… whatever it may be.

I have been nothing else if not patient, persistent, and perhaps even relentless in the pursuit of this goal. One of my personal mottos has been that anyone that believes you can’t please everyone simply isn’t trying hard enough.


…That said, what the past year(ish) has taught me is that often times there should be losers. I don’t necessarily know that there have to be – given enough time almost anyone can reach a compromise – but the emotional, physical, and capital investment required to get everyone on the same page is way-more-often-than-you-might-think not worth it.

Kris Dunn wrote a few days ago here that the best HR leaders are as assertive as the salespeople in your organization. He notes that in our function the need for comfort with confrontation continues to escalate. This is as true as anything I’ve read all year.

Frankly, as our workforces have become more global, company investments in long-term retentive benefits such as pensions become less prevalent, healthcare access becomes less tied to enterprise employment, and skill-sets become more transferable, the tension between talent management and business priorities have become both more interlinked and in conflict. Today’s business leaders need HR Business Partners that will push back on human capital strategy when the current state doesn’t make sense for organizational health, whilst also being willing to let go of their agendas and/or the present agendas of the function when it/they don’t align with the needs of the business.

Winning and success don’t always mean everyone walks away happy. And sometimes it means everyone walks away more or less pissed. That conflict – that tension – is an integral part of success.

…I think. I will keep you posted.

Happy Wednesday,