“Chief among our gains must be reckoned this possibility of choice, the recognition of many possible ways of life, where other civilizations give a satisfactory outlet to only one temperamental type, be he mystic or soldier, businessman or artist, a civilization in which there are many standards offers a possibility of satisfactory adjustment to individuals of many different temperamental types, of diverse gifts, and varying interests.” – Margaret Mead
The Creative Conflict of the Eclectic
As a singer, writer, actor and more Nick Cave is a prolific and creative artist. Part of his creative potential flows from his long list of influences, if this partial list is anything to go by. The creative power of an eclectic list of influences from a variety of fields, genres and schools of thought is that it offers us the contrast & conflicts that enable us to push our work beyond its normal range. The ability to span a wider range of influences and to embrace ongoing conflict of schools of thought is an important part of why culture moves forward when management often sits still.
A wide range of inspirations & inputs offers us views that shatter our hallucinations and draw in the perspectives of the wider communities around us. Ideas profit by the testing of conflicting view points and the demands of additional stakeholders.
As Margaret Mead suggests in the quote above, we need diverse roles and viewpoints to be able to realise the creative potential of all people. We need diverse sources of conflict to see the world as it is. Averages & standards constrain us. We need to leverage the creative potential of all human capabilities. In our organisations and our approaches to personal knowledge mastery, we need to resist the temptation to associate with similar people and to be drawn to the bubble of our own reflected opinions. We need to engineer difference of views and the conflict that flows from it.
The leadership task is not alignment without conflict. The work of leadership is alignment before, during and after conflict. In a world of continuous change, the conflict is inevitable. We must choose to embrace it.
But Conflict Must Change Work
Conflict and debate can be captivating. Generating new ideas and thoughts is often an extraordinarily exhilarating process. Creativity is itself an occupation for many.
Most organisations need more than creativity. They need change that can create new value. The delivery of better value in its widest sense is what matters. That takes new and better ways of working.
Let the conflicts and the inspiration catch you in the process of making a little change. At that moment, there is a far better chance of inspiring some new form of value.
Inspiration exists but it has to find us working – Pablo Picasso