In The Benefit of Dissenting Opinion Mike Myatt reminds us of the importance of vigorous debate. I think the reticence of people to offer a dissenting opinion, or hear one for that matter, points to a more fundamental issue getting in the way of progress.
We seem to have lost the ability to have passionate discourse about anything.
Disagreeing does not equal disrespect, yet we seem to have developed a culture that doesn’t know the difference.
When people disagree they form camps around their dissenting opinions driving a wedge that shuts down the wheels of progress. All too often, rather than disagreeing in the open, we have conversations behind closed doors plotting how “we” will win so “they” will lose.
We justify our actions in the name of political correctness, and judge these same actions in others as being “political”. The resulting public conversations end up being more calculating than constructive, and more manipulative rather than honest. [click to continue...]
It is way too easy to over commit ourselves these days. Overwhelm and an ever expanding to do list are symptoms that we have a problem. According to conventional wisdom learning to say no is key to solving this problem.
But I don’t think the solution to overcoming a habit of over committing is as simple as learning to saying no. I think we must actually get better at choosing yes.
There a lot written about choosing no, so here I want to talk about choosing yes.
Consider that not all “yeses” are created equal. We may say yes, but it doesn’t really mean the same thing in every situation. Every time we say yes to a request that is made of us we choose, consciously or unconsciously, the level of commitment with which we relate to that yes. Furthermore, what we mean when we say “yes” isn’t necessarily what the person who made the request hears.
Being unaware of the context for every yes we give to another person puts both our relationships and results at risk. [click to continue...]
In Rising from the Ashes I told the story of how Donna led a team to success after having failed previously.
One key learning, which made the difference between failure the first time and success the second time, was how to create an accountable relationship with team members.
There are two things that often get in the way of creating sufficient accountability in relationships on cross functional teams: (1) people don’t report directly to the team leader; and (2) they often volunteered to be on the team.
Those two things were clearly in the way in this situation. Despite the fact that she set the expectation at the first meeting that everyone needed to pull their weight, there were 3 people on the team who were not.
Donna was frustrated and so were the other team members, but she did not know what to do. She was waiting (and hoping) they would volunteer to take on work as the project plan was further defined and others were stepping up to take on the work. They did not seem to be getting the hint and tension was building. [click to continue...]