Collaborative Communication & Thoughtful Disagreement

Published: September 24, 2019

To be successful we need to put together teams of individuals that exude multiple ways of thinking. If all team members have the exact same way of thinking, would there be much opportunity for change or growth? Probably not. That being said, it is important to develop both a culture and system that embrace these various ways of thinking, drive collaborative communication and allow you to have better discussions.

This idea of collaborative communication is highly empowering. It gives your team members or employees (and YOU) the opportunity or the right to speak out about what he or she believes, rather than just being obedient and a ‘follower’. This creates a culture of fairness and appreciation of differences. 

To take this idea of collaborative communication one step further let’s take a look at how business mogul and investment guru, Ray Dalio, has implemented the idea of thoughtful disagreement it into his business and life. 

He thinks of thoughtful disagreement as curiosity. Throughout our lives we have been inherently trained to go into any conversation and convince others that WE are right. However, to make better decisions, we must retrain ourselves to approach each conversation with the intention of understanding other peoples’ reasoning and uncover who is right.

Dalio recommends creating a system around ‘thoughtful disagreement’ that involves understanding others and reviewing key pieces of data before coming to a conclusion. 

To establish this system you must outline your principles along with a systematic decision making process. Meaning, when certain situations occur, what are the rules that must be followed to come to a decision? Just as history repeats itself, we know that similar situations recur over and over again, so if we can create a system to follow, we will be able to recognize certain situations and operate at a principle level, thus making more powerful and effective decisions.

Lastly, in a recent podcast, Dalio talks about intuitive decision making vs logical decision making. He points out that each of these can be right and each can be wrong. Intuitive decision making is driven by insight or emotion, whereas logical decision making is based on facts and, well, logic. When you are able to bring these two into alignment AND surround yourself with other people with varied opinions, AND embrace thoughtful disagreement, you will be able to make optimal and powerful decisions.

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