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Paul Tagliabue on technology, innovation and the value of conflict in an organization
November 14, 2012 05:55 PM
|Former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue (right) was interviewed by SBJ/SBD Executive Editor Abraham Madkour.
On the potential for YouTube, NetFlix, Apple and others to become bidders for sports rights:“Each company presents a different set of issues. Some are going to be taken over by technology. Some are going to be the cutting edge of technology. As I look at the world right now ... the same three issues are present in higher education, business and sports: technology and the pace of innovation and the ROI for new technologies; globalization, which creates massive new markets and also massive innovators, which creates the opportunity for conflict or collaboration; and value, which the other part of value is cost. You can use the technologies, you can use globalization, you can use partnerships to deliver better costs. But those three things – and I’m traveling all over the world, you can have breakfast with business people, lunch with people in sports and dinner with people in higher education – and those are the three things people are talking about.”
On the challenges of leading an organization: “What keeps you up at night is all the conflict you have at an organization. It’s not only internal conflict. It’s conflict with outside partners. Managing conflict is very hard. It’s stressful. It requires a lot of thought. It requires a lot of creativity. It requires a lot of confrontation. But it’s healthy. If you don’t have conflicting ideas coming up, odds are you have a comatose organization, which is not a good place to be. Conflict in this sense means conflicting idea. You have to have a balance between people who are entrepreneurial and people who understand the value of teamwork and building consensus. There was a great World War II general who said, ‘When everybody on my staff is thinking alike, I know nobody is thinking.’ You have to have different ideas bubbling up in your organization.”