Who gains from conflict?

Great rock bands seem to be case studies in harnessing conflict—a team skill I prize above all others in business these days.

Why? Because if we can't manage the inevitable discord among individuals on our teams, the other qualities we need—creativity, enthusiasm, ambition, independent thinking, etc.—will be suppressed or squandered.

Now if there's one band that mastered the art of leveraging conflict, it's The Who—the fiery quartet that exploded out of the London Mod scene in the mid-'60s to become the most exuberant performers of twentieth century rock.

What you may not know is that the surviving members of the original band—guitarist/songwriter Peter Townsend and lead singer Roger Daltrey—did not get along with each other for much of their career. Yet the un-throttled passion of the Who's music—as captured below in a 1978 video—speaks volumes for their ability to capitalize on that interpersonal tension to produce extraordinary concerts and recordings. (For anyone interested in HOW they managed to pull that off, we can explore that in the comments.)

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