We talk about raising the level of friction to drive innovation, but there are times when it doesn’t matter if the friction level is red-hot at 100. Nothing will change.

We’ve all seen this happen:

  • Management has set the organization on a determined course and no matter of input, data, or feedback will influence their decisions.
  • A star performer is given carte blanche to do whatever they feel is appropriate—regardless of the long-term effect on the rest of the organization.
  • Both sides are deeply entrenched and neither side is willing to move a millimeter to compromise.
  • The key individuals involved have entrenched behavioral disorders, which limit their ability to work constructively with others.

Sounds like what we see in the news in politics and sports, but it happens in business, too.

What do you do?

If you determine you’re in a destructive high friction situation, here’s what to do:

  • Look for creative ways you can turn down the heat.
  • Meet with others who are impacted to see if together you can effect change
  • If neither of these work, get out of the kitchen. Find a new environment where you can be more effective.

We love constructive friction, but we don’t believe you need to sit back and watch when uncontrolled friction bursts into a major conflagration.