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Dream Teams: Working Together Without Falling Apart (Lessons from marriage)

Successful teams and relationships share a trait most people think is bad: fighting .

  • One of the biggest indicators that a relationship is going to end is not arguing — it's not talking.

  • In work environments, the biggest problem many teams face is "organizational silence," or team members not talking about important issues.

  • Successful businesses that rank high in innovation also tend to encourage the airing and clashing of different viewpoints .

  • When people or teams don't express their different viewpoints, it's worse for business than fighting.

The following is an excerpt from "Dream Teams: Working Together Without Falling Apart" by Shane Snow:

Any science writer who ends up writing about relationships eventually ends up at the Gottman Institute. I was no exception to the cliché when I started digging into the science of Dream Teams.

At their research center in Seattle, Drs. John Gottman and Julie Schwartz Gottman study romantic partnerships and what makes them tick. I found them because of my interest in what makes lovers stop ticking. What causes partners who once thought that they'd be better together to call it quits?

The answer is surprising, but quite simple.

"Interaction patterns, such as disagreement and anger exchanges," they report, "may not be harmful in the long run." In fact, conflicts can be "predictive of improvement" in partnership satisfaction over time.

The reason is not because arguing makes us happy. It's actually because if you're still arguing, you're probably still together. There's potential energy in the rubber band you're stretching together. If you keep talking long enough — and those arguments don't spill over into violence — you're going to eventually work things out.

Indeed, the biggest leading indicator that a marriage is about to end is not, in fact, when couples argue. It's when they stop talking.