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Resolving Disagreement

Disagreement can sap time, energy, and good will. Here’s how to sort out disagreement peacefully and find a working solution.

By
Stever Robbins,
Episode #269

Resolving Disagreement

Dealing with disagreements quickly and easily will help you move forward as quickly as possible, whether your plans involve deciding on a venue for your new product marketing launch, or taking over the world by holding the entire world’s supply of fashionable clothes for ransom. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you haven’t listened to all your Get-It-Done Guy episodes. Listen again. Your life will be better for it.)

“I’m OK, You’re OK.” It was the name of a really popular self-help book, and it perpetuates the myth that someone else might be as awesome as you. That’s not true, of course. You’re the best. But you may have noticed that even the best sometimes get caught in disagreements with other people. Not only do disagreements call into question your being the best—an absurd proposition—but they can slow things down, and make it harder to speed quickly down the wrong path. Er, I mean down the right path. Surely that’s what I meant.

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Calm Down and Be Civil

Bernice wants rose bouquets as centerpieces at her wedding reception. Kaitlin, her able assistant, is insisting on an assortment that doesn’t include roses. They’re yelling at each other across the greenhouse of Bernice’s Green Growing Things plant store. Customers are starting to stare, and the Audrey 2s in the back room are licking their lips in anticipation...

When you find yourself disagreeing with someone, first calm down and take 5 deep breaths. You won’t get anywhere if you’re filled with righteous anger. It may play well on The Kardashians, but not in real life.

Set a ground rule for yourself to be civil. When people are feeling defensive, they’ll take almost anything you say as an attack. When you’re feeling angry, almost anything you say will be an attack. “Hand me the scissors. I have to cut a piece of string.” said in sinister, attacking voice tone. The Audrey 2s are licking their lips again. Plant with lips...gross.

No comments that imply bloodshed, no saying “your mother wears combat boots” unless it’s true, and no implying you’re the best and they’re not. You’re too good for that.

Sometimes, you disagree about end goals. Other times, about means.

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About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT. 

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