Confrontation—dealing with thorny/divisive/conflicting issues—is critical to all relationships. So I believe.

The problem is many of us tend to shy away from direct disagreement. We confuse professional discourse with emotional personal conflict.
To be fair, the line can be crossed and in many ways.

Passion for an idea can morph into a private crusade. Differences of opinion can escalate into open warfare. Challenge to thinking or divergent thinking can be perceived as threatening. Sadly, this goes on and on.

What’s a good agency person to do?

Here are a couple of thoughts. You can ignore divergence. Pretend it doesn’t exist. You can grin or give the impression you agree and then do what you like. You can seethe and burn, and fry everyone in your path, or:

Never go to bed mad. Stay up and fight.
– Phyllis Diller

This is my preferred method. Work it out. Don’t leave the table until everything is out in the open and handled. Don’t shy from the conflict. It’s not about winning; it’s about openness.

Based on my experience, this is particularly important (not to mention personal…) in client relationships, especially when agency evaluations are up for discussion. I have lost count how many times I’ve seen clients less than open and agencies not pushing or the other way around. And when it hits the fan, the wrong people are surprised and the others wonder why the message was never transmitted.

Currently we have a couple of Client Satisfaction studies in front of us. We must confront them. We must confront ourselves and our clients. We must get to the truths—the real issues—without feeling threatened or scared or being worried about hurting feelings.

We need to demand the truth—good, bad or indifferent. We must demand that we stand together with our client with the facts and use them to move on and to grow.

Go to bed mad and you wake up mad……..

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