Summary of When Goliaths Clash

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When Goliaths Clash book summary

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative
  • Applicable


This book is built on the premise that a lot of companies have, metaphorically speaking, the head of a dead elephant sitting in their boardrooms. The dead elephant’s head represents conflict, disagreement and rivalry between the executives themselves. No one wants to talk about the dead elephant’s head, because no one wants to admit that it’s there. Unfortunately, it’s a big, ugly reality that must be addressed sooner or later, and everyone knows it. Author and consultant Howard M. Guttman maps out a process companies can use to deal more openly and honestly with internal conflicts. He begins with the premise that conflict isn’t inherently bad and can even serve a productive purpose, if it’s properly managed and conducted according to the rules. strongly recommends this book to corporate executives - and to the worker bees who have to duck when those Goliaths in the corner offices start slinging rocks.

About the Author

As the principal of New Jersey-based Guttman Development Strategies, Inc., Howard M. Guttman has worked since 1989 to help international clients build effective teams, master conflict management, and align strategy with operations. Guttman’s experience includes executive positions at Automatic Data Processing (ADP) and Johnson & Johnson. Guttman has served as an adjunct professor at the Graduate School of Management at Rutgers University, as well as the Graduate School of Psychology at Fairleigh Dickinson University.


War Zone

Conflicts are a little like taxes. You’d love to be able to do away with them entirely. In reality, you just hope to learn how to manage them effectively. Effectively managing conflict is one of the secrets to an organization’s success. Companies that fixate on eliminating conflict altogether are as doomed to failure as those which ignore conflict, thus creating an organization where internal competition is even fiercer than marketplace competition. Neither extreme is healthy. The enemy isn’t conflict. It’s conflict in a destructive form that threatens everything the organization is striving to achieve.

These days, the vocabulary once relegated to the battlefield has become common parlance in the boardroom. You hear of people getting "blown up" or "set up" or "booby trapped" or "ambushed." Executives talk of "rolling out the big guns." Ideas get "shot down." Executives soberly discuss their "plan of attack." And every executive wants to go "on the offensive." It sounds like corporate life has become tantamount to war - the continual context of conflict can incite warring factions to rise up, even within an organization.

Conflict occurs at every level...

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