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

On Differences and Disagreements

by

Last updated: August 8, 2018

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. rbrenDrnKfjnNgIJwrpcxner@ChackWNAhpCGuOFbLqBHoCanyon.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? rbrenExjnFGIsLIUsrGKaner@ChacDYgpPeMxYFPYLIJZoCanyon.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:

James Madison, author of the Bill of RightsTeamwork Myths: Conflict
For many teams, conflict is uncomfortable or threatening. It's so unpleasant so often that many believe that all conflict is bad — that it must be avoided, stifled, or at least managed. This is a myth. Conflict, in its constructive forms, is essential to high performance.
Marie Antoinette, queen of France from 1774 to 1792Recognizing Hurtful Dismissiveness
"Never mind" can mean anything from "Excuse me, I'm sorry," to, "You lame idiot, it's beyond you," and more. The former is apologetic and courteous. The latter is dismissive and hurtful. We have dozens of verbal tactics for hurting each other dismissively. How can we recognize them?
A diagram of effects for compulsive talkingCompulsive Talkers at Work: Addiction
Incessant, unending talking about things that the listener doesn't care about, already knows about, or can do nothing about is an irritating behavior that harms both talker and listener. What can we do about this?
Sen. Robert Packwood, Republican of OregonPatterns of Conflict Escalation: I
Toxic workplace conflicts often begin as simple disagreements. Many then evolve into intensely toxic conflict following recognizable patterns.
Cargo containers at a port of entryUnresponsive Suppliers: III
When suppliers have a customer orientation, we can usually depend on them. But government suppliers are a special case.

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

Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout

The U.S. Senate Chamber in 2011Coming March 27: Stone-Throwers at Meetings: II
A stone-thrower in a meeting is someone who is determined to halt forward progress. Motives vary, from embarrassing the chair to holding the meeting hostage in exchange for advancing an agenda. What can chairs do about stone-throwers? Available here and by RSS on March 27.
The Striped Anglerfish, Antennarius striatusAnd on April 3: Career Opportunity or Career Trap: I
When we're presented with an opportunity that seems too good to be true, as the saying goes, it probably is. Although it's easy to decline free vacations, declining career opportunities is another matter. Here's a look at indicators that a career opportunity might be a career trap. Available here and by RSS on April 3.

Coaching services

I offer email and telephone coaching at both corporate and individual rates. Contact Rick for details at rbrenQHZMxiPfWudwqiYlner@ChacpmxYenonmBytBjyDoCanyon.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 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.

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.