nsight_070814Sometimes when things go a little wrong, the outcome is a lot of right. Case in point: I facilitated a workshop last month with a group whose goal is to develop a value proposition for their most important subscriber service.

The first part of the day went much as expected – working through the process of discovering what subscribers need most and how the service responds to those needs. We identified a solid list of value points and member benefits that match up with what subscribers need most to be successful in business.

Towards the end of the session, things went off on a tangent about the new culture being introduced in the organization. The old culture was one of secrecy. Some in the group felt it’s difficult to change and move forward from “the way it was” when some of the board, frankly, liked the way it was.

Subscribers are uneasy about decisions made in the past and fearful about new ones to come. They want communication, input into the decisions, and want to give feedback.

Thanks to this tangent, the group opened up and brought their concerns and frustration out into the open. The result was positive. Leaders are on the same side as subscribers. They are determined to bridge the divide between leaders and their members.

What initially seemed like friction and discord among the group became the impetus to bring everyone together. As one participant said after the session, “You can’t get traction without friction.”

To that, I say touché and congratulations for having the courage to bring up and air troubling perceptions. But it doesn’t always happen so naturally. Executives and leaders need to know it’s OK to invite the 800 lb. gorilla into the room.

If you know there’s an issue sitting just beneath the surface then likely everyone knows it too! Don’t be afraid to get it out on the table and create a little friction. More often than not, the result will be for the group to come together to deal with the issue and move forward in a more cohesive and collaborative manner.