There is no shortage of self help and business books surrounding the collaborative and counseling culture that should exist in organizations. But let me teach a quick principle from a religious leader quote from long ago… “The reason why men [and women] always failed to establish important measures was because in their organization they never could agree to disagree long enough to select the pure gold from the dross by the process of investigation.” – Joseph Smith

Consider that! Agree to disagree long enough. In a really good TED talk Margaret Heffernan also argued conflict is frequent because candor is safe. The idea here is that you need to create a culture in your organization that allows for a little bit of conflict (not contention. Conflict and contention are very different). And, by allowing candor and conflict into your meetings and general organizational culture you can actually get to the nuggets of gold and avoid rampant group think or the rabbit hole of bad ideas we often get ourselves into.

If you haven’t sat in a meeting where your counter argument isn’t welcome then I applaud you. You live in a Nirvana I have never seen. There are plenty of times I have an opposing point of view, but don’t feel safe enough to express that view (more on that here). According to Joseph and Margaret, that is a bad deal. We need to work with people and in organizations that pride themselves on “hearing people out” and welcoming a diversity of perspectives. Consider making it a rule to agree to disagree long enough and be professionally candid enough to get to the pure gold with your colleagues. It is often through the dissonance of ideas that true harmony can be discovered and achieved.

Published by Jerrod Guddat

I love learning, collaboration, and improving workplace performance. You can usually find me reading a book or opposing points of view on the internet. I typically assume my ideas are flawed until proven otherwise. :-)

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1 Comment

  1. Love this! Thanks for the great reminder on keeping candor and conflict in the workplace to avoid contention.

    Liked by 1 person

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