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Agree to Disagree!

Responding to my previous article on risk-taking and entrepreneurship a friend had presented a contrarian view – he said that both entrepreneurship and employment had rewards; I agreed with him because he definitely was on the right track. But the focus of my article was ‘ability to take risk’ – it was not a comparison between the two career options. After agreeing with him I mentioned where my article was pointed. That helped to settle our mini disagreement amicably.

Often we go hammer and tongs at another party without first clarifying what he or she was trying to get at. Why ruffle feathers, fray tempers or spoil relationships over a silly point?

Edward de Bono has created the 6 Thinking Hats concept as a Decision Making Tool – he said that more robust decisions can be arrived at, with greater synergy, by using his new technique. De Bono said that when everyone in the group thinks in the same direction more can be achieved in less time – organisations have been able to save time and money using the 6 Thinking Hats technique. This technique is in sharp contrast to the classical Greek form of decision-making, which is based on arguments; there people square-up against each other and try to hammer down the other person’s point-of-view – it’s my opinion versus yours.

Responding to the same article another friend made a detailed response, mostly in agreement with my submission, but unable to accept one point. So she pushed me to rebut.

She was only looking for a friendly joust, and we are used to doing that without rancor; but I told her that there is no need to rebut because I could make my point without disturbing her line of thinking. Truth be told that difference of opinion was caused by a failed attempt at infusing humor in my article. (Drat! Now I need to polish my funny-bone!)

She thought I was being serious, when that concept was only included as a contortion of reality – it was an attempt to draw people’s attention by using exaggeration; I clarified and we found that there was nothing to argue about. But I still am more than a wee bit miffed at the collapse of a “carefully constructed” joke!

Often we take an strongly adversarial stance with clients and customers and come to grief. Instead of hearing them out fully we may draw conclusions based on half-heard statements and make an incorrect response which would cause anger and annoyance. The other party may treat you as someone who is difficult to work with and decide against doing business with you.

It’s best that we give the other person a patient hearing and clarify before making our response. It also makes sense to cross-check that you have been understood the right way lest you have problems later on.

And if the other side is not willing to accept your point-of-view in spite of your best attempts you don’t have to split brass-rags … just agree to disagree!

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  1. Jamy
    April 19, 2012 at 8:10 am

    Boy, I can definitely relate to that one… happens so much at work but only with individuals who are broad-minded and do not believe in imposing their thoughts and beliefs on others.

    • JayadevM
      April 19, 2012 at 8:43 am

      Ha! Ha! Don’t we all experience that? Part of life.

      Being assertive and not permitting others to trample all over us … although tough, is the only way forward.

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