They say silence is golden. But when it comes to controversial issues such as the Supreme Court's pending ruling on Roe v. Wade, saying something is better than saying nothing, says Wendy Smith, professor of management and co-director of the University of Delaware's Women's Leadership Initiative.
Companies are silent because of the polarization in such a politically charged debate and the potential blowback from taking a side, Smith says. But they can effectively address competing demands, particularly competing demands laden in such values as we see in the debate about abortion.
Smith's examination of the issue draws from strategy and analysis found in her new book, "Both/And Thinking: Embracing Creative Tensions to Solve Your Toughest Problems."
"Our research suggests that engaging both/and – seeking to be in the dialogue and discourse across competing demands that honors and respects both sides – enables more creative and generative outcomes," Smith says. "The invitation therefore for leaders is to create psychologically safe, trusting spaces to allow people with different opinions to be in dialogue with one another in service of finding better solutions."