Background and Context

Back in the Autumn of 2020, WhatsApp was experiencing accelerated growth during the pandemic. One of the UK teams was less than 6 months old and was looking for opportunities to improve the quality of their communication, collaboration, conflict, and decision-making. 

I facilitated a 1.5-hour workshop with 7 participants on the question: when is it right to disagree? 

 

 

Depress boss feeling unhappy and disappoint in important business meeting. Businessman disagree on team information idea.

During a monthly team building slot, we discussed the question; When is it right to disagree?

Natalie was our example-giver for this dialogue and she gave us an example from a time she had a different opinion to a senior colleague on how to approach an upcoming presentation when the data was sparse and inconclusive.

Through Natalie's example, we discovered that it's right to disagree when:

- a mutual commitment to delivering on a task has not been upheld, and

- when someone's thinking or behaviour conflicts with our moral code, such as lying about why the work was not done, as in this example.

But we established that disagreement isn't always easy or simple!

There can be cultural and relationship dynamics at play that block us from speaking up. Maybe then, it's not so much about when it's right to disagree, but rather about the quality of our judgment and response.

jean

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