START YOUR WEEK WITH THE COACH
“Do you want to win the argument, or the battle for change?”
Winning an argument doesn’t make you right or the points of your defense true. Too often, disagreements turn from being a search for the truth into a battle for being “right.” We all know, but many find hard to accept, you can win an argument and still be wrong. Don’t judge the accuracy of your beliefs by how many battles they survive.
Arguments and debates can guide us to the truth of what’s best if everyone comes to the table with the same degree of honesty and openness, sets their biases aside and puts their egos in their back pocket. Exchanging ideas, exposure to criticism, considering new perspectives, are all excellent ways to challenge our personal perception of the best outcome.
As a leader, you may not be as persuasive, as articulate and as quick on your feet as others. But, that’s no excuse for not having all the information you need and fully prepared to defend your position. When you are trying to implement change, it’s not about how loud or long you argue. It’s about being fully persuaded of the needed change and the tools you are using to bring it about, but without blinders.
In addition to your positional authority (power tools), there are three other tools you can use to generate a cooperative team culture. They are leadership tools, culture tools and management tools.
If your team wants the same thing but disagrees on how to achieve it, leadership tools such as inspiration, role modeling, persuasion, and personal attention can achieve it. If the team agrees on cause and effect but little on what they want, you can use management tools such as training, financial incentives, strategic planning and measurement systems.
If your team is stuck in the status quo (they agree on what they want today and know how to get it), you must adjust the corporate culture to make significant changes, the most difficult of the four tools to implement. Changing organizational culture is all about values, rituals, tradition and “the way it’s always been,” is extremely difficult.
Organizations with strong cultures (value systems) instinctively prioritize similar options. And, their common view of how “their” world works means that very little debate is needed about the best way to achieve their priorities and goals. These kinds of organizations are almost self-managing. But this strength also makes them also highly resistant to change.
“Today’s kids are not ADD, they’re EOE: Engage Me or Enrage Me. From Kip Leland in his book, “Don’t Bother Me Mom—I’m Learning.”
Sometimes we are trying to win arguments for change when we do not have our team’s attention must less their engagement. In your passion to make changes, you can only go as fast as the slowest person on the team is willing. To think otherwise is when the trouble begins.
You may be winning the argument, but the battle for significant and sustainable change still goes on and victory is far from certain.