Great leaders know when to pick
worthwhile fights and when to either pull out all
of the stops or to back off. You cannot fight
every battle that emerges on your journey to
bringing the vision to fulfillment; you have to
pick and choose wisely. Most of the barriers you
encounter can be overcome by methods short of
conflict and confrontation. Only those that are
sufficiently significant to justify the risk and
the expense should give rise to strategic
A Fish Out of
stalks us all. Whether it emerges from a clash of
personalities, ideologies, vision, or preferences,
we all experience conflict. However, few people
think of conflict in strategic terms.
competitive nature - a sure sign of our fallenness
- makes us bristle at any challenge or
confrontation. Our need to save face or protect
our turf produces a swift response - whether in a
marriage or a
many years now, consultants and counselors have
stopped using the phrase "conflict resolution" and
preferred "conflict management." We may not be
able to resolve conflict, but we can certainly
manage it better.
does not mean the simple choice of fight or
flight. It involves weighing the significance of
the conflict and assessing the risk and cost of
engaging in it. In other words, choosing only to
engage in "strategic conflict."
conflict in our lives is not strategic. It
typically emerges from weariness, worry, or hurt.
Non-strategic conflict rarely weighs the
consequences or takes a long view. It reacts
rather than responds. It may act hastily or brood.
It's the small (or not-so-small) stuff of our
day-to-day that we allow to drain and de-energize
conflict differs greatly. We don't jump in; we
step in cautiously. It arises seldom, not often.
It reflects a cool head, not a hot one. It stems
from principle not personal preference. It looks
beyond the moment and considers the broader
you have a strained marriage, a soured friendship,
a stressful work environment, or a tense church
setting? We may find considerable help if we
first determine the strategic value of the
experienced conflict periodically with the
religious authorities of his day. Was he a rebel
looking for a fight, or a revolutionary who chose
his battles carefully? Like Jesus, we need to
choose the hill we're willing to die on. Perhaps
we rush too quickly up many hills with our spouse,
our children, our friends, our neighbors, our
colleagues, and our church community
strategic conflict might spare us (and
others) from the common carnage. Perhaps it would
spawn life instead of death.