Point Lookout: a free weekly publication of Chaco Canyon Consulting
Volume 17, Issue 3;   January 18, 2017:

On Differences and Disagreements

by

When we disagree, it helps to remember that our differences often seem more marked than they really are. Here are some hints for finding a path back to agreement.
Many different viewpoints make for many different choices

Many different viewpoints make for many different choices

Usually, there's more than one way to convert disagreement into agreement. Choosing one can be tricky, though, because we so rarely appreciate all of what separates us or what distinguishes our views. Here's a collection of insights that might help find a path from disagreement to agreement.

  • If I don't think I can explain it to a child, maybe I don't fully understand it.
  • If it's urgent, go slow.
  • Accountability and blame are two very different things.
  • The problem is not the problem. The coping is the problem. — Virginia Satir
  • Questions are usually just questions. Even when they're counter-arguments in disguise, they're still opportunities for giving great answers.
  • When people I work with closely get into tangles, I'm probably involved in at least a minor way. Minor might still be significant.
  • In tangles, everyone has a role. Being a spectator is a role.
  • The person we all acknowledge as being involved in the trouble is only the person we're all willing to acknowledge. There are certainly others.
  • We probably aren't the first people in the world to get into this particular fix.
  • Our differences in this situation might contain echoes of our differences in another situation. Maybe one key to this situation lies in the other one. Unlocking this one might require more than one key.
  • Although there are some people at work who are actually trying to harm others, they are so rare that I probably don't know anyone like that.
  • The number of people who hold a particular belief isn't an indication of the correctness of that belief.
  • When I say something I later regret, I'm usually repeating a previous error.
  • For resolving differences, face-to-face is best. Phone-to-phone is next best. Voicemail is nuts. Anything involving a keyboard is totally nuts.
  • Nobody has an accurate view of everything. I might be mistaken on this.
  • There is almost always more than one way out.
  • When I think there is only one way out, I probably haven't thought about it enough.
  • When I Differences and disagreements
    are the doorways to growth
    think I've thought about it enough, and I still don't have a way out, I'm probably just tired. I take a break and try again later.
  • If I think I don't know what I want, maybe going for what I really want is too scary.
  • I can consider what to do about an unpleasant possibility without accepting that unpleasant possibility as inevitable.
  • I can't actually unsee what I've seen.
  • I can see in new ways things I've already seen in old ways.
  • I can see for the first time things I've never seen before.
  • I can see something for the first time only once.
  • I can't unlearn what I've learned, but I can learn what I haven't yet learned.
  • When somebody else seems to be trying mightily to make things worse, maybe I don't fully grasp what he or she is trying to accomplish.

This collection is a work in progress. rbrenKyrpMiqBnnUUPnWHner@ChacgEbnSaDGlMyKFJgtoCanyon.comSend me yours. I'm always interested. Go to top Top  Next issue: How to Get Out of Firefighting Mode: I  Next Issue

101 Tips for Managing Conflict Are you fed up with tense, explosive meetings? Are you or a colleague the target of a bully? Destructive conflict can ruin organizations. But if we believe that all conflict is destructive, and that we can somehow eliminate conflict, or that conflict is an enemy of productivity, then we're in conflict with Conflict itself. Read 101 Tips for Managing Conflict to learn how to make peace with conflict and make it an organizational asset. Order Now!

Your comments are welcome

Would you like to see your comments posted here? rbrenKyrpMiqBnnUUPnWHner@ChacgEbnSaDGlMyKFJgtoCanyon.comSend me your comments by email, or by Web form.

About Point Lookout

Thank you for reading this article. I hope you enjoyed it and found it useful, and that you'll consider recommending it to a friend.

Point Lookout is a free weekly email newsletter. Browse the archive of past issues. Subscribe for free.

Support Point Lookout by joining the Friends of Point Lookout, as an individual or as an organization.

Do you face a complex interpersonal situation? Send it in, anonymously if you like, and I'll give you my two cents.

Related articles

More articles on Conflict Management:

Lion, ready to spring, in Samburu National Reserve, KenyaUsing Indirectness at Work
Although many of us value directness, indirectness does have its place. At times, conveying information indirectly can be a safe way — sometimes the only safe way — to preserve or restore well-being and comity within the organization.
1988 Nobel Laureate Leon Lederman celebrating his eightieth birthdayPolitical Framing: Strategies
In organizational politics, one class of toxic tactics is framing — accusing a group or individual by offering interpretations of their actions to knowingly and falsely make them seem responsible for reprehensible or negligent acts. Here are some strategies framers use.
President Obama meets with Congressional leadersEthical Debate at Work: II
Outcomes of debates at work sometimes favor one party, not only at the expense of the other or others, but also at the expense of the organization. Here's Part II of a set of guidelines for steering debates toward wise outcomes.
A sunlit glenDirected Attention Fatigue
Humans have a limited capacity to concentrate attention on thought-intensive tasks. After a time, we must rest and renew. Most brainwork jobs aren't designed with this in mind.
The planet Earth on planet Earth on April 17, 2019Unintended Condescension: II
Intentionally making condescending remarks is something most of us do only when we lose control. But anyone at any time can inadvertently make a remark that someone else experiences as condescending. We explored two patterns to avoid last time. Here are two more.

See also Conflict Management and Emotions at Work for more related articles.

Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout

Lady JusticeComing May 12: Pre-Decision Discussions: Emotions
Some meeting agendas include exploring issues related to upcoming decisions. Although we believe that these discussions are purely rational and lead to rational decisions, some contributions evoke emotional responses. Here are five examples. Available here and by RSS on May 12.
Sherlock Holmes and Doctor WatsonAnd on May 19: Pre-Decision Discussions: Reasoning
When we meet to resolve issues related to upcoming decisions, we sometimes rely on reasoning to help find solutions. Contributions to these discussions generally use mixtures of deductive, inductive, and abductive reasoning. How do they differ, and what are their strengths and risks? Available here and by RSS on May 19.

Coaching services

I offer email and telephone coaching at both corporate and individual rates. Contact Rick for details at rbrenKyrpMiqBnnUUPnWHner@ChacgEbnSaDGlMyKFJgtoCanyon.com or (650) 787-6475, or toll-free in the continental US at (866) 378-5470.

Get the ebook!

Past issues of Point Lookout are available in six ebooks:

Reprinting this article

Are you a writer, editor or publisher on deadline? Are you looking for an article that will get people talking and get compliments flying your way? You can have 500-1000 words in your inbox in one hour. License any article from this Web site. More info

Public seminars

The Power Affect: How We Express Our Personal Power

Many The Power Affect: How We Express Personal Powerpeople who possess real organizational power have a characteristic demeanor. It's the way they project their presence. I call this the power affect. Some people — call them power pretenders — adopt the power affect well before they attain significant organizational power. Unfortunately for their colleagues, and for their organizations, power pretenders can attain organizational power out of proportion to their merit or abilities. Understanding the power affect is therefore important for anyone who aims to attain power, or anyone who works with power pretenders. Read more about this program.

Bullet Points: Mastery or Madness?

DecisBullet Point Madnession-makers in modern organizations commonly demand briefings in the form of bullet points or a series of series of bullet points. But this form of presentation has limited value for complex decisions. We need something more. We actually need to think. Briefers who combine the bullet-point format with a variety of persuasion techniques can mislead decision-makers, guiding them into making poor decisions. Read more about this program.

Follow Rick

Send email or subscribe to one of my newsletters Follow me at LinkedIn Follow me at Twitter, or share a tweet Subscribe to RSS feeds Subscribe to RSS feeds
The message of Point Lookout is unique. Help get the message out. Please donate to help keep Point Lookout available for free to everyone.
Technical Debt for Policymakers BlogMy blog, Technical Debt for Policymakers, offers resources, insights, and conversations of interest to policymakers who are concerned with managing technical debt within their organizations. Get the millstone of technical debt off the neck of your organization!
Go For It: Sometimes It's Easier If You RunBad boss, long commute, troubling ethical questions, hateful colleague? Learn what we can do when we love the work but not the job.
303 Tips for Virtual and Global TeamsLearn how to make your virtual global team sing.
101 Tips for Managing ChangeAre you managing a change effort that faces rampant cynicism, passive non-cooperation, or maybe even outright revolt?
101 Tips for Effective MeetingsLearn how to make meetings more productive — and more rare.
Exchange your "personal trade secrets" — the tips, tricks and techniques that make you an ace — with other aces, anonymously. Visit the Library of Personal Trade Secrets.
If your teams don't yet consistently achieve state-of-the-art teamwork, check out this catalog. Help is just a few clicks/taps away!
Ebooks, booklets and tip books on project management, conflict, writing email, effective meetings and more.