Why Agree to Disagree?

 In Blog

In meetings, how many times have you “agreed to disagree?” It’s a way out of endless arguments that can stall and prolong meetings. This phrase enables both parties to maintain their positions.

But there’s a big downside to agreeing to disagree. When it’s decided to implement one person’s position, the disagreeing person typically secretly roots for it to fail. Additionally, the dissenting person or persons are not fully committed to the idea’s execution.

Disagree and commit

Healthy relationships are not dictatorial, they are collaborative. A more productive and positive approach is to disagree and commit.

This idea has been popularized by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. He says, “This phrase will save a lot of time. If you have a conviction on a particular direction even though there’s no consensus, it’s helpful to say, “Look, I know we disagree on this, but will you gamble with me on it? Disagree and commit?”

Disagree and commit means employees or cohosts have the safety to disagree, yet once the decision is made, everyone is committed to supporting it and executing it. Bezos insightfully noted about a disagree and commit situation with a coworker, “Not but he committed. And he committed. There’s a huge difference: Butsignals hesitation and skepticism, while and sparks movement and action.”

Recently, I participated in a discussion with a morning show cast disagreeing on the placement and frequency of a long-running popular benchmark. The open conversation gave everyone the opportunity to be heard. After fervent brainstorming, we reframed the debate and asked everyone, “How can we make this successful benchmark even better? What ideas do you have to move it from an A to an A+?

The team not only committed to upgrading the feature but the frequency and placement of it also became a non-issue. The side wanting to decrease the frequency happily committed because of the improved quality.

This story has a happy conclusion. We agreed to agree!

Photo by Ashkan Forouzani on Unsplash

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