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Teams Shouldn't Agree


For too long our perception of agreement has been wrong (or as an old acquaintance said to me the other day, "it's up the wazoo!" - what a wonderful old saying that is - very expressive.) Here is a list of words and terms that I think are up the wazoo with respect to agreement, teams and business:

  • Full Alignment (we can only expect a measure of alignment - no more)

  • In Sync (in other words we all hold the same view - so we don't explore the issue enough)

  • Singing From The Same Hymn Sheet (again, we don't explore the issue enough)

  • Harmonious Collaboration (proper collaboration cannot be harmonious - otherwise why collaborate? What do you gain if you are all of the same view? Where is the "synergy" - good word used too much by those that don't understand it's true meaning, particularly politicians!)

You get the picture - I could go on! These days disagreement and conflict is absolutely necessary to make sure we analyse issues enough, explore enough options and give thought to consequences - and as a result come up with sound, well thought out solutions. It is no coincidence that I write this blog whilst we are in the throes of "Trumpism!" It appears from this view that if any advisor disagrees with President Trump he or she is fired. Now that is dangerous. Why? They will not explore issues enough. They will not fully understand the nature of the problem. They will not come up with enough options to resolve it. They will have a stack of solutions just looking for a problem to fix. Remember what Einstein said (and I ask for some creative licence here - these may not be the exact words but they are close enough!) - "I can solve any problem in an hour as long as I spend 59 minutes thinking about the right question to ask." They will not give thought to consequence enough. Your business teams answer to exactly the same logic. The term "productive conflict" is very important in this discussion. But we get hung up about the emotional side of argument. In other words, we can find it difficult to control our emotions when someone disagrees with us. But we must find a way, because we don't know everything and we employ our staff so they can display their potential and be themselves. And if they disagree with us, or have another opinion, or have valuable input, don't we want them to say so? I know, this could be difficult for some of us. But it is essential for engagement at work. We must allow our staff to be "constructive nonconformists" - this is where employee engagement comes from. So some things to give thought to the next time you think conflict in a work team is inevitable:

  • Talk about it with the team. Discuss their prime roles in the company. They will have different roles if the meeting is cross functional, so it is right that they are looking out for their own area. So it is inevitable that there will be disagreement. They need to realise this! It is OK to disagree. In fact it is a requirement

  • Discuss the different behaviour types in your team. If you haven't Profiled your team members, do so. Are they listeners or talkers? Do they care more for task or people? Each profile type will have a different perspective (and in my experience the quiet listeners often have the most valuable insights - so make sure the team environment allows for them to talk)

  • Set some ground rules for productive conflict and get consensus amongst the team (consensus means everyone can live with it) Define the processes you will follow when you are in conflict. Some examples:

  • Hard on Ideas, not people

  • Leave your "angry" emotions at the door when you walk in

  • Everyone speaks

  • Only one person speaks at a time

  • Every differing view can and will be questioned

So the next time someone disagrees with your view, ask why. Ask for an explanation. ASK! They are only doing their job and being themselves. Be well, stay focused and embrace disagreement Cheers Phil Pickford

For too long our perception of agreement has been wrong (or as an old acquaintance said to me the other day, "it's up the wazoo!" - what a wonderful old saying that is - very expressive.) Here is a list of words and terms that I think are up the wazoo with respect to agreement, teams and business:

  • Full Alignment (we can only expect a measure of alignment - no more)

  • In Sync (in other words we all hold the same view - so we don't explore the issue enough)

  • Singing From The Same Hymn Sheet (again, we don't explore the issue enough)

  • Harmonious Collaboration (proper collaboration cannot be harmonious - otherwise why collaborate? What do you gain if you are all of the same view? Where is the "synergy" - good word used too much by those that don't understand it's true meaning, particularly politicians!)

You get the picture - I could go on! These days disagreement and conflict is absolutely necessary to make sure we analyse issues enough, explore enough options and give thought to consequences - and as a result come up with sound, well thought out solutions. It is no coincidence that I write this blog whilst we are in the throes of "Trumpism!" It appears from this view that if any advisor disagrees with President Trump he or she is fired. Now that is dangerous. Why? They will not explore issues enough. They will not fully understand the nature of the problem. They will not come up with enough options to resolve it. They will have a stack of solutions just looking for a problem to fix. Remember what Einstein said (and I ask for some creative licence here - these may not be the exact words but they are close enough!) - "I can solve any problem in an hour as long as I spend 59 minutes thinking about the right question to ask." They will not give thought to consequence enough. Your business teams answer to exactly the same logic. The term "productive conflict" is very important in this discussion. But we get hung up about the emotional side of argument. In other words, we can find it difficult to control our emotions when someone disagrees with us. But we must find a way, because we don't know everything and we employ our staff so they can display their potential and be themselves. And if they disagree with us, or have another opinion, or have valuable input, don't we want them to say so? I know, this could be difficult for some of us. But it is essential for engagement at work. We must allow our staff to be "constructive nonconformists" - this is where employee engagement comes from. So some things to give thought to the next time you think conflict in a work team is inevitable:

  • Talk about it with the team. Discuss their prime roles in the company. They will have different roles if the meeting is cross functional, so it is right that they are looking out for their own area. So it is inevitable that there will be disagreement. They need to realise this! It is OK to disagree. In fact it is a requirement

  • Discuss the different behaviour types in your team. If you haven't Profiled your team members, do so. Are they listeners or talkers? Do they care more for task or people? Each profile type will have a different perspective (and in my experience the quiet listeners often have the most valuable insights - so make sure the team environment allows for them to talk)

  • Set some ground rules for productive conflict and get consensus amongst the team (consensus means everyone can live with it) Define the processes you will follow when you are in conflict. Some examples:

  • Hard on Ideas, not people

  • Leave your "angry" emotions at the door when you walk in

  • Everyone speaks

  • Only one person speaks at a time

  • Every differing view can and will be questioned

So the next time someone disagrees with your view, ask why. Ask for an explanation. ASK! They are only doing their job and being themselves. Be well, stay focused and embrace disagreement Cheers Phil Pickford

For too long our perception of agreement has been wrong (or as an old acquaintance said to me the other day, "it's up the wazoo!" - what a wonderful old saying that is - very expressive.) Here is a list of words and terms that I think are up the wazoo with respect to agreement, teams and business:

  • Full Alignment (we can only expect a measure of alignment - no more)

  • In Sync (in other words we all hold the same view - so we don't explore the issue enough)

  • Singing From The Same Hymn Sheet (again, we don't explore the issue enough)

  • Harmonious Collaboration (proper collaboration cannot be harmonious - otherwise why collaborate? What do you gain if you are all of the same view? Where is the "synergy" - good word used too much by those that don't understand it's true meaning, particularly politicians!)

You get the picture - I could go on! These days disagreement and conflict is absolutely necessary to make sure we analyse issues enough, explore enough options and give thought to consequences - and as a result come up with sound, well thought out solutions. It is no coincidence that I write this blog whilst we are in the throes of "Trumpism!" It appears from this view that if any advisor disagrees with President Trump he or she is fired. Now that is dangerous. Why? They will not explore issues enough. They will not fully understand the nature of the problem. They will not come up with enough options to resolve it. They will have a stack of solutions just looking for a problem to fix. Remember what Einstein said (and I ask for some creative licence here - these may not be the exact words but they are close enough!) - "I can solve any problem in an hour as long as I spend 59 minutes thinking about the right question to ask." They will not give thought to consequence enough. Your business teams answer to exactly the same logic. The term "productive conflict" is very important in this discussion. But we get hung up about the emotional side of argument. In other words, we can find it difficult to control our emotions when someone disagrees with us. But we must find a way, because we don't know everything and we employ our staff so they can display their potential and be themselves. And if they disagree with us, or have another opinion, or have valuable input, don't we want them to say so? I know, this could be difficult for some of us. But it is essential for engagement at work. We must allow our staff to be "constructive nonconformists" - this is where employee engagement comes from. So some things to give thought to the next time you think conflict in a work team is inevitable:

  • Talk about it with the team. Discuss their prime roles in the company. They will have different roles if the meeting is cross functional, so it is right that they are looking out for their own area. So it is inevitable that there will be disagreement. They need to realise this! It is OK to disagree. In fact it is a requirement

  • Discuss the different behaviour types in your team. If you haven't Profiled your team members, do so. Are they listeners or talkers? Do they care more for task or people? Each profile type will have a different perspective (and in my experience the quiet listeners often have the most valuable insights - so make sure the team environment allows for them to talk)

  • Set some ground rules for productive conflict and get consensus amongst the team (consensus means everyone can live with it) Define the processes you will follow when you are in conflict. Some examples:

  • Hard on Ideas, not people

  • Leave your "angry" emotions at the door when you walk in

  • Everyone speaks

  • Only one person speaks at a time

  • Every differing view can and will be questioned

So the next time someone disagrees with your view, ask why. Ask for an explanation. ASK! They are only doing their job and being themselves. Be well, stay focused and embrace disagreement Cheers Phil Pickford

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