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Thursday, October 29, 2009


I know people who spend their lives trying to avoid conflicts or disagreements. They consider disagreements as bad and that, while resolution to conflicts is good, avoiding any disagreements in the first place is always best.

What's wrong with disagreement? Is disagreement always bad? I guess it is if we have to always be right...then it definitely is a problem. I'm happy when others agree with me, but having others always agree with us isn't necessarily productive.

If everyone always agreed with those around them, how would we ever improve as human beings, as nations and cultures, let alone coworkers, friends and family? I don't think disagreement and conflict are bad at all.

Disagreements and conflicts are bad if we never resolve them. It's in the very act of resolution, if what we're doing is trying to learn and progress, instead of just mollifying or acquiescing, that positive outcomes can develop.

If we realize that we, personally, are not infallible, and the groups we are a part of are not perfect, then we know we have areas where we can improve.

When I think of a project team working to build a better widget, how far can it progress if all the team members are just going along with the leader instead of thinking, analyzing, and challenging the plans? The project might progress somewhat, but it will never reach it's optimal result unless the team members embrace disagreement as they challenge their ideas and the ideas of their colleagues.

What do you think? What other ways do disagreements and conflict fit into the picture as we look for innovation and growth?