These last two weeks in Europe and Washington DC, I’ve been in discussions with people that disagreed with my point of view and were willing to share their strong beliefs against it. Below are a few recent examples:
Doom and Gloom Speaker
Last week, I listened to a speaker with a negative approach to solving the food security issue. Although I disagreed with his point of view, I took seven pages of notes. He opened my mind, made me seek validation and challenged me to understand the thinking behind his behavior and position. I am less set on one solution (my solution), but more sensitive, more globally minded and wiser in my answers. However, my principles hold truer than ever, but my influence could be more effective.
In preparation for a presentation last week, an emerging talent in our company deeply vested in her positions did not connect with my main points. Her body language was so strong that she led me to ask, “You don’t agree do you?” She willingly spoke up and openly shared what wasn’t working. I walked away with a wider view on global food security and had a balcony moment about whether I was creating the right micro-environment or culture around me that challenges my opinions.
This week, I was challenged by the realities of timelines and politics in Washington. My idea of urgency is four months from now, but they believe 12-24 months is urgent. They are more realistic and experienced with government processes and timelines, and that left me with a new reality to have better preparation.
There’s power in disagreement to strengthen your belief system. Consider the following :
- Complete disagreement: Get into environments more often where people completely disagree with you.
- Reflect, Write, Consider: Before jumping to defend, let it rest for one day. Being able to listen without an opportunity to debate allows for reflection.
- Micro-environment: Create a welcoming micro-environment that provokes disagreements and encourages you to question the other side of the argument.