Yesterday morning I had disagreement with one of my business partners. The details aren’t important, but we argued over how and where to offer certain subjects, marketing projections, and probably a few other things too. (Don’t worry, the discussion was civil and ended well.)
I don’t necessarily recommend starting your week off with a disagreement, but I noticed something funny about our conversation: I left excited, not annoyed or hurt or frustrated.
That outcome is partially due to how how much I’ve communicated with my partners and also partially due to caring for each other beyond opinions about a business. On some level, though, it’s because I’ve had to develop a stomach for conflict. By nature I’m a people pleaser and a peace keeper. I like everyone to be happy and everything to be harmonious. Unfortunately, or fortunately, actually, those things are impossible to maintain 100% of the time (both in business and life). Running a business—especially a startup—has forced me to tackle difficult conversations head-on and build muscle to deal with conflict well.
More than that, though, I’ve repeatedly seen strong, civil, informed disagreement forge ideas and plans that wouldn’t have happened without the clashing of different positions. I’m starting to be more unsettled by a lack of disagreement than its presence, because I know that looking at a problem different ways is one of the best ways to discover the best solution.