The margin of success is pretty thin these days, whether you are leading a for-profit company or a nonprofit organization. Makes no difference. So, anything you can do to improve your product, service, or effectiveness is critical. And, if your organization has problems you need to identify them and address them ASAP.

Whether you call it healthy discomfort, creative tension, or even unbridled passion, successful organizations thrive with open, healthy discussions. If the culture at your organization encourages your team to open up, congratulations. However, if it makes your team members afraid to speak their minds or avoid certain confrontational situations, you are not getting the best they have to offer. That means the organization suffers. For your organization to be its very best, you have to find a way to unleash those creative, yet potentially uncomfortable ideas and recommendations  your staff has…and believe me, they have them-whether you want to admit it or not.

As long as individuals attack the issue at hand and not the people involved, you can discuss virtually any subject. Your organization benefits because everyone is putting the issues first and keeping office politics and personalities out of the discussion. Healthy organizations do this by consistently setting clear boundaries on what is acceptable and what discussion has no place at the table.

Avoiding important topics or soft-pedaling issues may make for a pleasant office environment but it can be terminal to an organization.  (And, it really does not promote a healthy office culture either.) Think about a brainstorming session where participants hold back on making suggestions, or a performance appraisal that is watered down and the employee’s true performance shortcomings are not addressed. Bad news-everyone loses.

So, what can you do to promote open, healthy discussion in your culture? If you’d like to explore this further call me and let’s talk.