Recently, I shared that the most common types of advice I’m asked to provide tend to focus on people frustrations. And that the root cause, and therefore any solutions, center around Communication and Compassion.
The first challenge was focused on email, and I offered the “1-2-Meet” approach to improving response rates and engagement.
The next challenge is about reconciling differences of opinion. What can we do when we’re convinced of the right way forward, or the right answer, and someone else is convinced otherwise?
Find the AND
Let’s start from the premise that we all want to wake up every day, knowing we add value to an organization or effort.
To know we add value, we have to understand our role and its relationship to the mission of the team, organization or company.
In our attempts to find, realize, or maximize our value, sometimes we may forget that everyone around us is doing the same thing. Each of us can get so caught up in “me” that the potential awesomeness of “we” is lost.
Recently, one of my managers – I’ll call him Bob – sent out an email regarding something his team was working on. Another manager – Joe – reached out to me, indicating that he was confused. The effort appeared to overlap with his team’s responsibilities and he wondered what that meant.
Did I really need to get in the middle of two people to translate? Not unless I wanted to own the outcome. Since I didn’t, I asked them to meet and work it out.
A few days later, I get the word that Bob and Joe could not resolve their difference of opinion. They were each dug into their understanding of individual accountabilities, teams, and objectives, unable to reconcile their positions.
The question I got back was “which one of us is right?”
I reached out to both and asked them forget for a moment that either Bob OR Joe could be right. Instead, I asked them to find the solution where Bob AND Joe are both right.
By shifting the focus from “me” to “we,” the result was a better understanding of one another’s teams and objectives. They could each view the other from a place of compassion, rather than possible resentment.
The AND solution ultimately highlighted the synergies between the teams. They realized that by working together, they created a better solution for our customers than they could alone.
OR solutions are polarized, siloed, and divided. AND solutions are partnerships, synergies, and aligned. It is only through AND that individuals and teams can find common ground and the best blend of multiple ideas or positions.
The next time we’re faced with which solution or answer is the “right” one, let’s look past “me” to the awesomeness of “we.”
What is the best advice you have received to reconcile differences of opinion? Is there another technique you would recommend? I would love if you could add your thoughts to the comments and keep the conversation going.