The Cost of Conflict Avoidance

Below is an excerpt from my upcoming book, Speak Up. Too many young adults shy away from difficult conversations without realizing the cost of conflict avoidance.

The Cost of Avoiding

In a 2018 study, researchers examined the effects of a delay in speaking up. They call the gap between the time a problem is identified and the time the problem is discussed as the Accountability Gap. Healthier companies have a shorter accountability gap and discuss issues in a timely and effective manner. Unhealthy companies have a longer accountability gap where it takes longer to bring issues to the table.

“In the study of 792 professionals, 52 percent of employees hesitate to discuss peer performance problems, 55 percent are reluctant to discuss when they believe someone makes a bad strategic choice, and 49 percent take more than a week to speak up when policy decisions are beginning to create unintended negative consequences.”

The delay in sharing concerns translates into inefficiencies for your company. It is costing you and your team thousands of dollars every time it takes multiple days to speak up about issues or unintended consequences.

“When three days or fewer pass between the identification of a problem and a frank, honest and respectful conversation about it, roughly $5,000 is wasted, according to the survey data. However, when the accountability gap reaches five days or more, employees estimate more than $25,000 is wasted.”

People sit around and let little moments of frustration or miscommunication boil over into massive inefficiencies. Every time you delay sharing needed, constructive feedback for a problem with a project, you cost your company precious time, energy, and stress. You will have times in the workplace where you do not agree with how a team is handling new processes. You will notice little behaviors and actions of coworkers that cause errors. The more consistent you become with sharing necessary feedback and ideas, the more time and stress you will save yourself.

I appreciate you.


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