Injecting the benefits of “argument” into your teams.

By Manoj Raheja

Raise your hand if you like confrontation.

Definition:   A hostile or argumentative meeting or situation between opposing parties”

Sound like fun?

Well why can’t it be?  There are many known benefits of confrontation.  Being argumentative allows you to understand other perspectives; it cuts through the politically correct corporate jargon and gets you to the guts of the issue.  Ultimately it will make your thinking stronger.

Have I sold you?  Or are you saying – I like the outcome – but “hostile/argumentative” sounds like a painful way to get there; that’s not my personality.  Well here’s how you can inject the benefits of “argument” into your workplace and turn Confrontation into ConFUNtation:

Lisa Elder, Founder and President of Heads Up (Qualitative Research), and owner of a very smart brain, came into our offices one day and shared an exercise I have a lot of heart for.  You take your topic and have 2 people debate the merits.  One is “for” and one is “against”.  Each person gets a minute to passionately rant (and you can scribe the key points of the argument on a flipchart).  Then the full group can look back at the arguments and circle the key points to ultimately help you make the decision OR identify the obstacles you need to overcome.

What makes it great?

  • A non-confrontational way to get the benefits of confrontation
  • Quickly extracts the diverse thinking of your team
  • Uncovers potential land mines that you can re-position as “how might we solve…”
  • Shakes things up for leadership teams that agree too easily OR disagree unproductively

So what do you think?  Fire up your inner hostility and dial up the passion – it’s time to get ConFUNtational!