My Top 3 Guiding Principles to “Agree To Disagree” and Move Forward Together

There’s nothing like Election Week to remind us that, in life and in work, sometimes we have to agree to disagree.

It’s easier said than done, but it’s a crucial skill to develop if we’re going to work successfully with other people.

But how do we do it? How do we stand together when we disagree? How do we move forward together, especially in our polarized political climate that seems to trickle all the way down to our personal and professional relationships?

One overarching principle that I use that I learned from Steven Covey is: “Seek to understand, then be understood.”

When I don’t agree with someone, I use this principle to remind myself to pause and truly understand where the other person is coming from.

Three questions I ask myself that flow from that guiding principle are:

1. Why is this person making this decision?

2. What is the logic behind it?

3. What is their context?

When I pause to answer these questions, I position myself to understand FIRST, before I agree or disagree.

One caveat: we should be principled people. I’m not saying you should compromise your principles. Sometimes, you might have to say: this is isn’t the place for me to work or I can’t agree with you on this issue. But, we also shouldn’t allow our disagreements to turn into contempt.

In tech companies, especially in startups, rapid-fire decisions are the norm and if we don’t stand behind a lot of those decisions, it won’t get off the ground. So, how do you move forward when you don’t agree with the decisions being made?

In today’s Wealthward Fast Focus, I want to provide you with some techniques to help you stand with others you don’t agree with.

  • Empathize. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes.
  • Kindness. Truly reduces the friction in life. Build a discipline to be kind. While hard the payoff is huge. We don’t have to be in alignment on everything. You don’t have to compromise your principles. There may be a time for you to say that this role isn’t the right fit for me, or this isn’t the place for me. Things may not always fit into this envelope.

You can agree to disagree, and move forward. Build bridges and choose words for their power to persuade and not to destroy. In life and work, we’re not always going to agree but we need to move forward and stand together anyway.

 

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