There you are, in a meeting with your peers, making decisions that will impact your department, impact your company, and impact you. Another peer, or even the leader throws out an idea that others quickly grab on to as a good idea and direction, but you have concerns, legitimate concerns. Do you have the trust, to disagree?
If you find this question confusing, then maybe you never had the trust within your organization to disagree. Perhaps the culture that you reside in does not encourage disagreement. Maybe you have been left to believe that it’s more important to agree and build from there, than to disagree and cause conflict. You might think and believe that you are not a team player?
I ask once more, do you have the trust to disagree? Furthermore, do you have the trust to challenge opinions based upon facts, not emotions? Do you have the trust that by voicing an opinion contrary to the discussion, or the trust to challenge the conventional wisdom of an idea that by voicing your concern the results of the final outcome will be better. Finally, do you have the trust, that if you bring up your concerns that you will be listened to, your concerns and feedback considered, and if that decision does not change that you will support that decision as your own?
The ability to trust to disagree is the culture of high performing teams and teammates. I have a counterpart that he and I have this trust. We both believe that the other has the best interest of our company in mind. That does not mean we don’t disagree. In fact, we agree that we can disagree. But we both think about the bigger picture. If he and I have a disagreement we cannot settle we trust we can take it to our superior, and own the decision as our own. I can’t think of the last time we had to do that.
Now take that one more level. I have the trust that I can disagree in our Executive Team meetings, bring concerns, and debate the facts with a passion. I have the trust I can voice concerns to our CEO, President, COO, and HR and be heard based upon the facts and not feel that my job is threatened. I have also witnessed that by having that ability, built from the top down, that our company, our decisions, and the individuals of our Executive Team are better for it. From there, our employees and our customers reap the benefits and the rewards.
The trust to disagree, to debate passionately, and to bring about better decisions is something that is not just stated, but something that must be lived. It starts at the top, but demonstrated throughout. I can honestly state that at times some concerns I have voiced would have brought fear to me at another employer. But I have that trust. Built and demonstrated professionally, factually, and with respect. Do you have the trust to disagree?