A few weeks ago, one of my business partners and I spent time with four executives who argued relentlessly and disagreed about everything.

Positions were staked. Sides were taken. Everyone dug in.

It was awesome. In fact, it was one of the healthiest, most productive groups we’ve facilitated in months.

Many people think conflict management is synonymous with conflict avoidance. To the contrary, conflict in an organization – when it’s healthy, productive, and professional – should be welcome and, in fact, pursued.

Far too often, conflict and disagreements remain unspoken. Some people choose not to verbalize their disagreement; they keep it to themselves. Worse yet, some people take their beefs to someone else, a co-worker whom they hope to win over as an ally.

These actions may prevent the initial awkwardness of open disagreements. But they can result in resentment, spite, or an undercurrent of mistrust. On a larger scale, a conflict-averse culture means that good ideas – that could ultimately improve revenue or organizational health – are not voiced. And that’s not fair to your colleagues or organization.

When it’s done right, healthy conflict opens the lines of honest communication. It removes hidden agendas and challenges the status quo. It ensures that the best ideas are presented, debated, and fully considered.

The operative word here is “healthy.” What does healthy conflict look like?

First, it’s not personal. Challenge the behavior or the idea, but don’t hit below the belt. Keep it professional and be honest, even if it stings a bit.

Second, healthy conflict doesn’t give you a license to steamroll over the people with whom you disagree. You have to listen. Keep an open mind. Consider others’ viewpoints. Good conflict isn’t just a one-way ticket for you to “give them a piece of my mind.”

Third, pay attention to how you respond when someone disagrees with or challenges you. The surest way to kill an environment of open dialogue is to instinctively dismiss or disrespect the person who brings it to you. They’re showing trust that you’ll receive the feedback as you had intended. When you receive it like a pro, and you’re reciprocating that trust and respect.

And finally, even if you can’t agree, find some sort of resolution. Don’t let it damage your relationship or impede progress of the organization. Figure out how to coexist with your disagreements.

Organizations thrive when people learn how to disagree openly, passionately, and respectfully.

Russ Florence is a partner at Schnake Turnbo Frank and shares a monthly column with the Journal Record.

Oklahomans gathered at The Bryant Center in Oklahoma City recently for a discussion on diversity.

The event is part of a continuing Inclusion and Diversity series hosted by consulting firm Schnake Turnbo Frank. Its purpose is to explore a variety of topics related to diversity in the community, the workplace and beyond.

February’s luncheon at 2200 N Bryant featured a panel of guest speakers who were asked questions about their experiences with racism in their fields of expertise and ways in which progress could be made.

The panel included Norman Markland, with Pivot; Linh Sasser, with the NAACP; Lauren Turner and Damion Shade, from OK Policy Institute; and Raven Word, with Native Alliance Against Violence.

Discussion ranged from youth homelessness and incarceration rates among people of color and women, to graduation rates and home violence among Oklahomans. A disproportionate number of minorities and women experience higher rates in these measurements.

Read the entire story on our Inclusion & Diversity Consortium at Newsok.com.

Do opposites really attract? Sometimes. But if your organization’s mission isn’t at the forefront, opposites can collide.

When our firm’s two longest-serving partners merged to establish one company, it wasn’t because they were clones.

Russ Florence recently shared in The Journal Record how differences in leadership style can serve to complement one another, using our very own Steve Turnbo and Chuck Schnake as an example. Read the entire column here.

Our very own Tahira Taqi was awarded the Oklahoma City Black Chamber of Commerce’s 2019 Diversity & Inclusion Award. She was given the award at the annual gala and awards banquet.

Tahira was recognized for the work she does with our Inclusion & Diversity Consortium meetings and Inclusion & Diversity Summit. Not to mention inspiring change in Oklahoma City and across the state. We’re so proud of all she’s doing in our community.

Learn more about our inclusion and diversityservices and how they might help your organization.

We are proud to announce Hannah Jackson is now vice president in our Tulsa office.

Hannah joined the firm in 2013 as an account executive. Jackson has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Oklahoma and a master’s degree in integrated marketing communications from Oklahoma State University. Before joining Schnake Turnbo Frank, she was the communications manager at the Tulsa Regional Chamber.

She is the immediate past president for the Association for Women in Communications-Tulsa chapter.

To learn more about Hannah’s expertise. Visit her full bio.

Schnake Turnbo Frank Partner, Chief Operating and Inclusion Officer Russ Florence recently launched a monthly leadership column in the Journal Record. Here’s a exert of the latest column titled: “When doing less is more.”

“Sometimes, to achieve more, you need to do less.

High achievers tend to equate high performance with more activity. More goals, more products and services, more meetings, more time. It’s a natural supposition: Want more? Do more.”

Read the full article here.

Our very own David Wagner received an award from Rotary International. The award recognizes Rotarians who strive to “Be the Inspiration” in their local communities. David was nominated by an anonymous fellow Rotarian who stated this in the award application:

“David Wagner is the real-deal. When you first get to know David, you experience a polite and inquisitive professional with boundless energy. These more noticeable traits, while fantastic, overshadow some of his best. David has a gift for empathy, and a genuine desire to make the world a better place through acts of service extended to his fellow man in quiet ways, that most often do not receive accolades. David whistles. To himself. If you look it up in fancy scientific studies, whistling is a trait most often displayed by an individual possessing a positive nature at their core. David’s boss once said of him “David is one of those people that make me a better person.” David is the first one in his office most days. Often before the sun is up. We are pretty sure he is whistling.”

We couldn’t agree more! Read more about David’s dedication to the community.

We are so excited to have Emalia Seto join our team as an account executive in the Tulsa office. Prior to joining Schnake Turnbo Frank, Emalia worked in marketing and communications in San Francisco at Edelman where she specialized in corporate communications for financial, technology and nonprofit organizations from Fortune 500 companies to Silicon Valley startups. With experience in international media relations and executive counseling, she also supported the firm’s Bay Area business development and event marketing initiatives.

Although a Californian native, Emalia first moved to Oklahoma to attend The University of Tulsa where she was a member of the NCAA Division I Women’s Rowing team. During her time in Oklahoma, Emalia interned with WPX Energy, Tulsa’s Channel 8 and Saxum Strategic Communications.

Read more about Emalia.

The days of public relations firms merely organizing press conferences and sending out press releases are fading.

As a firm we’ve stayed true to our PR roots but have evolved into the leadership development space. We feel that an organization reputation and its leadership are tied together.

To help develop our next generation of leaders we start an 8-week Leadership & Reputation Academy. We now offer LRA in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Dallas and Bartlesville.

Read more about our Leadership & Reputation Academy in the Journal Record.

We are so excited to have Toni Allen join our team as an account executive in the Oklahoma City office.

A Tulsa native, Toni has led communications campaigns for brands nationwide. She joined STF in June 2018 and, as an account executive, helps with a multitude of varied tasks. She most enjoys content marketing and creative planning—helping clients craft content that attracts their target markets, connects with the community and establishes credibility.

Through an integrated approach, Toni uses both traditional and digital marketing strategies to tell a client’s story. Along with her media relations experience, she combines these strategies with a larger strategic direction in mind.

Prior to joining STF, Toni led marketing and public relations efforts at Allied Arts, an arts and cultural nonprofit serving central Oklahoma. She also managed traditional and digital marketing for Crowe & Dunlevy, the leading law firm in the state, where projects included social strategy, content creation, website management and graphic design. Additionally, Toni served on the firm’s diversity and charitable giving committees.

Learn more about Toni and her integrated approach to helping clients.