Break Through Team Deadlock

cliffhilton Blog, Conflict, Lead Others, Lead Yourself, Training

One of the toughest spots a leader can find herself in is a deadlock with her team members. Have you ever found yourself in this situation?
Your cross functional team is supposed to make a recommendation to the leadership team on Friday, yet no one seems to be on the same page. Marketing is ready to plow ahead. Finance wants more information before making a decision. The operations and supply chain representatives want to go in completely opposite directions. How do you break through this impasse and get to a unified recommendation?

Why This Tool Will Help You Break Through Team Deadlock

David Novak Leadership co-founder, Gregg Dedrick, commonly uses a tool he calls “beat that.” After listening to the perspectives and rationale from each of the team members, he commonly puts out a straw man recommendation and says “beat that.”
The “beat that” recommendation moves the team’s focus and discussion from defending individual positions to reacting to the recommendation on the table. It challenges people to make the recommendation better, not simply poke holes at it.
By creating a “beat that” recommendation, the team can move past impasse and align on a plan to take to the leadership team. It doesn’t mean the plan can’t evolve over time, but by definition, it is the best recommendation that they have at that time.
The “beat that” tool releases your team from deadlock and often creates the best final solution that everyone can agree on. Try using this tool the next time your team comes to an impasse.
For more leadership insight and techniques to help you become a better leader, check out the leadership resource section at

Share this Post