In response to the Daily Post writing prompt on March 5, 2013.
Prompt: Write about the last disagreement you had with a friend or family member – from their perspective.
Most of my disagreements surface at work, many times with my boss. He and I have worked together for over 5 years and know each other well. I also consider him a friend, so here it goes, our last disagreement from his perspective:
Me: “But, reason 1, 2, 3 why this isn’t a good idea.”
Boss thinking: What a pain in the ass. I’m really tired of him arguing with me every time I suggest that we take an approach that introduces any risk. I’m tired of hearing what we can’t do and need to start hearing what we can do.
Boss speaking: “Listen learnrunwrite, this is low-cost, and even if it doesn’t work out, it’s a risk that I’m willing to take. We need a win with this business segment, and we have a chance for this to work out.”
Me: “But, reasons 4, 5, and 6 why this isn’t a good idea…”
Boss speaking: “I get it, but I’m asking you to do this. This is a risk worth taking. If it’s a bad call then it’s my bad call, but we’re going to do it.”
Boss thinking: He means well but he really needs to pick his spots. Learnrunwrite can be too damn conservative and he needs to learn when it’s worth the fight.
At the end of the day I did what I was told. Things have worked out well so far, and I’m learning that I can do two things to be more effective:
- Present things in a way that is less about what we can’t do and more about what we need to do in order to be successful.
- Accept more risk. Manage to it, but things aren’t always going to be aligned perfectly. In order to make meaningful progress, sometimes you need to stick your neck out.
Conflict can be healthy when managed well. Most change and good in the world stemss from different ideas coming together to form stronger ideas. I’m surrounded by people who listen to and respect others, and for that I’m very grateful.