Conflict is essential to progress

“Conflict is essential to progress. No matter how much the engine revs, without friction the wheels cannot move forward.”

—Rob Reinalda, Executive Editor at Lawrence Ragan Communications

Image from Unsplash by Simon English

Here in Michigan, especially around the Detroit area, the Car/SUV/Truck is still king of the road. Toward the end of January, we had a bit of foul, frigid weather, including one particular morning in which my driveway was a sheet of black ice.

Without the expected traction from the driveway, I struggled to make it to my car and barely avoided falling, which was probably a comical sight to neighbors who may have been watching!


Where are you experiencing a lack of traction, or feel you are spinning your wheels?

Where do you notice conflict or areas of friction related to an important relationship or project?

How might this gritty or challenging situation actually be the source of friction that helps you move things forward?

“Appeasement is feeding the alligator and hoping he eats you last.”

“Appeasement is feeding the alligator and hoping he eats you last.”

—Sir Winston Churchill, Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

Photo from Flickr by Tamable the Jaguar

Photo from Flickr by Tamable the Jaguar

The political definition of appeasement is “a diplomatic policy of making various forms of concessions to an enemy power in order to avoid conflict.” A notable example was between Great Britain and Nazi Germany in the late 1930s.

A more general definition involves yielding or conceding to the demands of a nation, group or person in a conciliatory effort, sometimes at the expense of justice or other principles.

Today, I suggest that you examine where and at what potential benefit or cost do you see examples of appeasement in your professional or personal lives.


Determine where you are simply feeding the alligators in your world, hoping they will eat you last. In what situations would a courageous, principled stance be the way to go?

“A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

“A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

—Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States


Image from Flickr by dustpuppy

One of the challenges facing some of my business and executive coaching clients is the issue of internal conflicts and the lack of alignment within their organizations’ leadership and management ranks.

You can imagine the energy drains and loss of momentum that result when these groups don’t focus their collective efforts on their customers, markets, and even their competition.


What efforts could you take to align and unify your organization, communities, and even your family, to stand together to fully realize your collective goals?

Through these efforts, you will not only become one, you may even experience synergy, when the results achieved are far greater than the sum of each part.