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The Benefits of Disagreement: How to Leverage it to Make Your Team a Communication Powerhouse.

In my last newsletter, I focused on the idea of creating a culture of open communication to foster a team that’s antifragile. This week I’d like to build on that and give you another tool to use to improve communication in your organization/team/family/etc. (If you’re asking yourself what the heck “antifragile” means, you can find the post here).

We all have different communication styles, and I’m a person who, most of the time, naturally does not particularly enjoy disagreements or arguments. Yet as a graphic facilitator, I often intentionally develop processes for my clients that make space for ideas to clash.

No, I don’t just get all the right people in the room, then open with some inflammatory question that sets everyone on edge and then let the group have at it. Recipe for disaster.

Instead, I frame disagreement as a way to avoid a pitfall that organizations across sectors find themselves in: If nobody is disagreeing, we all must be on the same page, right?

NOT NECESSARILY!

Okay, maybe you’ve done heaps of work, you actually ARE all agreeing on the same level, and you’re ready to crush it. But many times leaders find themselves with team members who are frustrated because they feel like they can’t safely share ideas that are different or at odds with others.

One way to start helping folks feel better about disagreeing is to start with one of my favorite ground rules from the Center for Public Deliberation at Colorado State University:

It’s okay to disagree, but do so with curiosity, not hostility.

Asking people to be curious when they’re disagreeing can be a powerful mental shift because it allows them to question in a constructive way, and also to accept different perspectives without getting defensive. Because we all know that no matter how carefully we plan, how great an idea might be in the meeting room, something unexpected will happen.

We also know that it takes courage to let yourself be vulnerable by suggesting half-formed ideas that you think could spark something great from your team. Allowing and encouraging your peeps to look beyond the obvious solutions by disagreeing curiously can help you avoid costly mistakes up front and build better concepts in the long run.

If a meeting, event, or the culture you nurture in your team is built on the idea that it’s good to disagree curiously, that allows people the space and encouragement to question, share, scrap & start over. It builds open, respectful communication, which builds trust. Which leads to great teams doing amazing things together. Boom.

Click on the image below to see the larger version.

ConverSKETCHes_Curiosity.jpg

If you liked this tip, please sign up for my emails and if you'd like, I'd be so grateful if you shared it with your friends!

Once again, thank you from my heart and soul for your support, great senses of humor, brilliant minds, collaboration and what you're each doing to make the world a better place.

 
Cheers, Karina


Need someone to create a space for curious disagreement for your next event? Click to get in touch about your next meeting or event that could use a touch of graphic facilitation magic.

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

The City and County of Salt Lake, Utah have been working for over a year to better understand and respond to the needs of homeless individuals. Through outreach and collaborative governance, new resource centers will be available to help people move beyond homelessness. Here's a Strategic Illustration of their process and ideas moving forward.

The City and County of Salt Lake, Utah have been working for over a year to better understand and respond to the needs of homeless individuals. Through outreach and collaborative governance, new resource centers will be available to help people move beyond homelessness. Here's a Strategic Illustration of their process and ideas moving forward.

Change Happens. How To Foster A Team That Not Only Survives, But Thrives.

The word “resilience” is popular right now. We’ve worn out “sustainability” and we want to build a business culture that helps our organization stay on the cutting edge. But how many of us think about what resilience really means? Here’s a definition for you:

Resilience: the capacity of a system to absorb disturbance and re-organize while undergoing change so as to still retain essentially the same function, structure, identity, and feedbacks.
 
So, a resilient team can deal with the inevitable and ever-more-frequent changes we experience in life, and get back on track. But is simply getting back to where you were before what you want? Does this sound like an organization that is cutting edge? Isn’t there something more?!

I’m so glad you asked. There’s a brilliant guy named Nassim Nicholas Talib that wrote a little book called Antifragile. Now stay with me here, I see your eyes glazing over at some jargon-y, made-up business word. I promise you this one is worth thinking on. Antifragile is one of those books that is so packed with ideas that make my mind stretch, that I have to take a moment to process each paragraph I read. It’s awesome.

Talib describes the essence of antifragile as the following:

Some things benefit from shocks; they thrive and grow when exposed to volatility, randomness, disorder, and stressors and love adventure, risk, and uncertainty. Yet, in spite of the ubiquity of the phenomenon, there is no word for the exact opposite of fragile. Let us call it antifragile. Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better (pp. 433-435).

See what I mean? That is an INCREDIBLY POWERFUL idea. Change hits, and instead of somehow making it back to the way things were before, your team actually improves? Yes, please.

So how can you create a culture of antifragility?

It takes intentional work. Central to building a high-functioning team is good communication. Regular, transparent and open communication nurtures trust, and creates a positive feedback loop of good communication.

Feeling like you’re in a communication rut with your team? Three words for you: Draw. It. Out.

Using drawings, especially simple ones, is a phenomenally useful and fun tool to build a culture of great communication and antifragility. Doodling complex ideas helps you clarify what’s most important and simplify the ideas to more easily explain to others. Inviting other team members to collaborate with you and share what they’re seeing opens eyes to new perspectives, new connections, and create a sense of shared ownership of ideas, which leads to a higher likelihood of action. Even if it looks messy, it’s about the process. It’s about sharing ideas and working together. Then being able to refine and share your story so that when sh*t gets real, everyone knows what the vision is, and feels the confidence to move toward antifragility.

Partnering with a graphic recorder can help you take a step back, think critically about the situation, and give your notes an extra pop of drawing expertise. Or, if you're itching to take the reins (ahem, markers) yourself, getting personalized training from a visual creativity coach can help you take your ideas to the next level. 

Click on the image below to see the larger version.

What do you think about antifragile? Come on over to the blog and share in the comments so others can benefit from your wisdom. 

If you liked this tip, please sign up for my emails and if you'd like, I'd be so grateful if you shared it with your friends!

Once again, thank you from my heart and soul for your support, great senses of humor, brilliant minds, collaboration and what you're each doing to make the world a better place.

 
Cheers, Karina


You don’t have to be an artist to draw out your ideas, but it’s pretty fun to work with one. If you’d like to bring me on for your next event or work with me one-on-one to improve your skills to draw out ideas, let me know by clicking that nice button down there.

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

Next week I'm headed to Salt Lake City to help them create a visual summary map of what they've been hearing in 1 1/2 years of outreach around ending homelessness in SLC. This drawing is something they can use to help the group is build on what the City has heard from the community, rather than repeating what they know already.