If you try to cross the bridge without moving the obstacles out of the way and press ahead anyway, there is a greater chance of falling. Being unwilling to deal with conflict and failing to engage in difficult conversations is the quickest route to failure.

There are obvious reasons for not wanting to be involved in shouting matches and exposing yourself to the possibility of hurting other people’s feelings. If this is not dealt with correctly, it can cause just as many problems as you may feel it could by not dealing with the conflict at all.

Picture the scene: a boardroom descends into chaos following the decision to go ahead and tackle the obstacle, but a clear strategy was not pre-defined and everyone ends up in arms, questioning each other’s decisions and losing faith in the resolution process.

This is the last thing anybody (other than an anarchist) is usually after. Peace and harmony are much more conducive to an organisation than arguing and in-fighting will ever be, so finding ways to maintain that throughout every other challenge is paramount.

If someone isn’t pulling their weight or is convinced of their own direction at the cost of all other paths, it is practically a given that they will be upset when you bring up such a topic.

This doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done, of course. It just means that in order for the best outcome to be eased out of a tough dilemma, the difficult conversation has to be held in the most amiable of manners, free from unnecessary blame.

Blame tends to create immediate opposition. From there, the task starts to appear increasingly uphill.

Change management cannot be brought about without some difficult conversations and everyone on your side. This is where emotional intelligence comes in, a theory I shall elaborate on further in Part Three.

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