What do you think about conflict? Most people instinctively try to avoid conflict, and tend to think of the term conflict in a negative way. When you discuss conflict in the business world, it is often spoken of as a diminishing force of productivity. The fear of conflict; the fear of repercussion if you speak up can all play a role in staying silent. However, as Margaret Heffernan showed us in her TEDtalk, good disagreement is central to progress.
In her recent TED talk, Margaret Heffernan, an entrepreneur, former CEO of five companies and an author, discussed an experiment on productivity by evolutionary biologist, William Muir, at Purdue University. Muir was interested in productivity--- which is something that concerns all of us—devised a beautiful experiment to increase egg production in chickens. He first selected the most productive hen—the one that laid the largest number of eggs within each cage to breed the next generation of hens. In other words, he identified the “star” employee. Then, he took the star egg layers and put them together in one cage and tried to breed from this group of best in cage winners—like an NHL hockey team.