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How to Turn Disagreement Into a Team Strength - Ambition & Balance

Ray Dalio
“I’ve seen people who agree on the major issues waste hours arguing over details. It’s more important to do the big things well than the small perfectly.”

Ray Dalio

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How to Turn Disagreement Into a Team Strength - Ambition & Balance

How to Turn Disagreement Into a Team Strength - Ambition & Balance

https://doist.com/blog/how-to-turn-disagreement-into-a-team-strength/

doist.com

8

Key Ideas

Disagreement is healthy

It is essential for success. It’s the hallmark of an engaged and involved team member. And it opens the way for testing and improving new ideas.

It should also be treated as a chance to built trust and show mutual understanding.

The art of disagreement

Mastering the art of considerate disagreement means expressing your beliefs without shutting down the discussion or angering the other side.

For this to happen, you have to listen more, be willing to change your perspective on disagreement and learn to better your arguments.

Ed Catmull

Ed Catmull

“You are not your idea, and if you identify too closely with your ideas, you will take offense when they are challenged.”

Ray Dalio

Ray Dalio

“I’ve seen people who agree on the major issues waste hours arguing over details. It’s more important to do the big things well than the small perfectly.”

Charlie Munger

Charlie Munger

“I never allow myself to have an opinion on anything that I don’t know the other side’s argument better than they do.”

Escape your own bias

Take the time to gather facts that support the opposite point of view.

Ask yourself, “What if I’m wrong?”. This will strengthen your argument by anticipating questions, or you’re going to learn something new and take a more nuanced position.

Listening to the other side

We tend to focus on what we're going to say next in conversation and we fail to understand the counterargument and really listen to the other party.

Demonstrate that you're listening by reframing their position in your words and then ask for confirmation that you have it right.

Present your ideas inclusively

Disagreements can create an “us versus them” mentality with clear winners and losers.

A better approach is to ditch the entire notion of winners and losers. Instead, you’re both on the same team working toward a better solution

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Be realistic about the risks

Our natural bias is to start by imagining all the things that will go horribly wrong if we disagree with someone more powerful. Yes, your counterpart might be a little upset at first, but most like...

Decide whether to wait

You may decide to hold off voicing your opinion if you want to gather your army first. People can contribute experience or information to your thinking — all the things that would make the disagreement stronger or more valid. 

Also, delay the conversation if you’re in a meeting or other public space. Discussing the issue in private will make the powerful person feel less threatened.

Identify a shared goal

Before you share your thoughts, think about what the powerful person cares about. You’re more likely to be heard if you can connect your disagreement to a “higher purpose.” 

State it overtly then, contextualizing your statements so that you’re seen not as a disagreeable underling but as a colleague who’s trying to advance a shared goal. 

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Seek to understand

People tend to disagree when they don't understand each other. That does not mean you have to agree, just that you're open to hearing them out.

When you come to an understanding t...

Look beyond your own triggers

Whatever may have happened in your past, you have to find a way to get past your triggers and see that you're in a new situation with a person who doesn't mean you harm. What's triggered is usually fear and awareness of one's limitations.

Look for similarities, not differences

Look for common ground. When you concentrate on differences the space grows wider, but when you seek out what you have in common it helps bridge the gap.

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Listen to Learn, Not to Be Polite

Listen from a place of curiosity, not generosity. True dialogue does not happen when we pretend to listen, and it certainly cannot happen if we are not listening at all.

If you ev...

Quiet Your Agenda

Really listen to what someone else is trying to say.

We need information that is disconfirming, not confirming.

Ask More Questions

Ask more questions than you give answers.

When you ask questions, you create a safe space for other people to give you an unvarnished truth.

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Benefits of workplace collaboration

Employees can share resources, swap perspectives, and boost each other’s creativity.

Collaboration allows us to capitalize on the collective knowledge and expertise of our people, whil...

Downsides of collaboration

Collaborations can be unproductive, time-wasting, and a strain on top employees.

Collaborative organizational structure can drain people’s time and resources, wherein employees are “emailed to death and meetinged to death."

For effective collaboration...

... (or delegation), it helps to know where everyone’s expertise lies. 

Make sure your employees get to know each other, whether that happens through group lunches, coffee breaks, or informal social events. This also builds trust — a vital element for successful collaboration.

Identities and core beliefs

We build our lives around certain core beliefs. And discussing them will most likely yield anger and indignation (i.e discussing religion or politics).

We usually fail to adjust to the...

Do the work required

Rather than be opinionated, we should strive to be informed.

We should know the other side’s argument better than they know theirs. Instead of attacking a straw man, aim to knock down the strongest version of an argument you disagree with.

Charlie Munger
Charlie Munger

“I never allow myself to have an opinion on anything that I don’t know the other side’s argument better than they do.”

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You are the sum of your decisions

A few major decisions determine a good portion of how our lives, careers, and relationships turn out. The outcomes of these decision points will reverberate for years.

Even smal...

Why We Make Poor Decisions
  • We’re not as rational as we think. 
  • We’re not prepared. We don’t understand the invariant ideas — the mental models — of how the world really works. 
  • We don’t gather the information we need. We make decisions based on our “guts” in complex domains that require serious work to gather all the needed data. 
The World Is Multidisciplinary

We live in a society that demands specialization. Being the best means being an expert in something.  A byproduct of this niche focus is that it narrows the ways we think we can apply our knowledge without being called a fraud.

We should apply all the knowledge at our disposal to the problems and challenges we face every day.

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Paul Graham's disagreement hierarchy
  • DH0. Name-calling: the lowest level of argument.
  • DH1. Ad hominem: attackung the person rather than the point they are making.
  • DH2...
Work styles
Work styles

Work styles refer to the way we think, structure, organize, and complete our work

They the foundation upon which businesses operate and grow today.

4 types of work styles

In any organization you will usually find these main work styles:

  • Logical, analytical, linear, and data-oriented
  • Organized, sequential, planned, and detailed-oriented
  • Supportive, expressive, and emotionally oriented
  • Big-picture, integrative, and ideation-oriented.
The data-oriented colleague

Their strengths are in analyzing data, logical processing, and solving complex problems.

They are focused on achieving the established goals and will ensure that you stay on budget.

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The Difference Between Managers And Leaders

Leadership involves creating a compelling vision of the future, communicating that vision, and helping people understand and commit to it.

Managers, on the other ...

The Importance Of Delegation

There's only so much that you can achieve working on your own, that's why it's important to delegate effectively. To successfully delegate:

  • Explain what your team's role and goals are. Or even formalize it in a team charter, which can also be useful for keeping the team on track.
  • Think about the skills, experience and competencies within your team, and start matching people to tasks. 
Motivating Your Team

Whatever approach you prefer to adopt, you also need to bear in mind that different people have different needs when it comes to motivation. 

One size does not fit all. Some individuals are highly self-motivated, while others will under-perform without managerial input, and you need to be able to handle both. 

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Disagreements with a huge polarizing effect
Disagreements with a huge polarizing effect

It is common to disagree with peers, friends, family members and even strangers. Normally, it is harmless banter and one gets along fine with people with a different taste in pizza or a basketball ...

Anxiety and threat during heated discussions

Divisive topics, especially politics and religion, are by definition loaded with subjectivity and have no worldwide consensus.

This creates an inherent threat in the participant, as the moral, religious, and political values start to lose ground, creating anxiety and extreme reactions, like unfriending or blocking the person having a different point of view.

Different views: right vs wrong

Different moral values make the person view the discussion as a right versus wrong or good versus evil fight, in which it is natural to make an enemy out of the other person, who is now being looked at in a different light.