Monday, August 31, 2015

We both want the same thing!

Disagreements are almost always focused on some sort of difference in perspective.  And for so many people, there is a natural inclination to find fault in that different opinion by creating a reason for it.
  • She doesn't know what she is talking about.
  • He doesn't understand what I am trying to say.
  • She doesn't have enough knowledge to have a valid opinion.
  • He doesn't have enough experience to know what I know.
  • She is letting her past experiences cloud her judgment.
  • He is only disagreeing with me because he wants me to be wrong!
  • "Crazy!"
Every one of these is often times followed with another common thought, "If she/he would just see things my way."

The funny thing is that the great majority of people really do have good intentions.  They really do want what is best.  They really do SHARE your goals for excellent progress or a solution.  They simply have a different approach to make it happen.  A common goal and a common vision can be achieved with different strategies.  The key to collaboration is the common goal.  A common goal is the key to effective collaboration.

When folks disagree on something, no matter how passionately, progress can be made when the energy is refocused on the common goal.

So, when is it OK to agree to disagree?

In my opinion, that is an interesting question with many answers.  If both parties can try something that will hopefully move towards success of the common goal, then both parties should go for it and learn from each other.  That is not really a disagreement, that is two paths towards the common goal.

When two parties need to come to some kind of agreement because they will be involved in the efforts together, then agreeing to disagree doesn't really make sense.  I subscribe to the Stephen Covey frame of thought regarding compromise.  Anytime you compromise with someone, neither of you truly get what you want.  You both lose a little bit.  Instead, finding a third alternative creates a win-win.  Dr. Covey says the third alternative, "...is not your way or my way.  It is a better way!"

Doing this is tough if you are creating reasons that the other person doesn't see things your way.  Instead of conjecturing the reasons for their opinion, find the common goal.  Focus on what you both can agree on.  Only then can you truly collaborate and improve!