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2 questions behind every disagreement

1.  Are we on the same team?

2.  What’s the right path forward?

These are questions that Seth Godin posed in a post this morning.

His point is that many times we ask the second question about the path; while the most important question is the first one:  Are we on the same team?

Here is the right track to look at when asking the team question:

Is this a matter of respect?  Power?  Do you come out ahead if I fail?  Has someone undercut you? Do we both wat the same thing to happen here?

Answer those questions FIRST; then, if all goes well… ask the path question.

According to Seth:

If you feel disrespected, the person you disagree with is not going to be a useful partner in figuring out what the right path going forward might be. If one party (employee/customer/investor) only wins when the other party loses, what’s the point of talking about anything but that? Deal with the agenda items and the dignity problems first before you try to work out the right strategic choices.

I think that’s great advice.



One Response to “ “2 questions behind every disagreement”

  1. Steve Miller says:

    I think the first question is always “What is God’s team doing?” I think of Joshua 5:13-15. Right before taking Jericho, Joshua encounters a heavenly visitor. Joshua asks him, “Are you for us or for our enemies?”

    Joshua is ‘asking are you on my team?’ or are you on ‘their team?’ The reply is neither, the visitor is on God’s team. God isn’t on our side, we prosper when we are on His side.

    Sometimes I have been in situations where there was a disagreement and neither party was on God’s side. I’ve also seen agreement on a human level which disagrees with God’s will.

    If we start with man agreeing or disagreeing we are prone to fail, figure out what God’s team is doing and walk in humble boldness.

    The second question “2. What’s the right path forward?” is only answerable after you get the first question right.

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