Our addiction to always being right is a great block to the truth.
It keeps us from the kind of openness that comes from confidence in our natural wisdom.
– Stephen Levine
Navigating conflict among teams is a pervasive challenge in our organizations today. It is easy to get caught up in a whirlwind of passionate opinions, but when team members firmly believe their perspective is the only correct one and refuse to consider opposing views consistently, the result can be detrimental.
Not only is the team affected, but the impact extends far beyond just the team. Constructive conversations are vital for growth, but when disagreements turn combative, they can harm team morale, productivity, the organization's overall health, and beyond.
If you frequently find yourself in the middle of disputes, struggling to reach a consensus that aligns with your organization's core values, we'd like to introduce a new way to help you find common ground.
"It's not about being right; it's about getting it right."
– Elizabeth Spelke
Rather than locking horns, stand shoulder to shoulder with your teammates, shift your focus to the issue at hand, and evaluate potential solutions. Harness the power of your team and open your mind to alternative perspectives by trying on each of these "thinking hats."
Consider the impact each decision will have on these differing stakeholder groups:
1. Customers and Users:
Customers are the heartbeat of our business! How will your decision impact customers and end-users who rely on our products and services?
Our partners play a critical role in our voyage to the market. How will each option under consideration affect our vital allies?
Consider the regulatory landscape. How could our decisions affect our ability to operate under mandated guidelines?
Our products and services impact the communities we serve. Examine how our choices could affect the well-being of our communities.
Decisions we make can directly impact our ability to meet financial commitments and the expectations of our investors.
Reflect on the guidance and vision provided by our leadership. How do the available options align with the goals set by management?
7. Dependent teams:
Think about the interdependencies we share with other teams within our organization. Evaluate the impact each decision will have upstream and downstream.
8. Our Team:
Finally, gauge each decision's impact on your team. Consider the ripple effect on your colleagues' and friends' morale, productivity, and well-being.
The most important "thinking hat" to try on will allow you to embrace new ways of thinking:
If you have a beginner's mind and become curious, you can allow yourself to become open to hearing other opinions. You want your team and yourself to have a safe space to share all ideas.
The 10th hat is a hat to avoid at all costs!
10. Scrum Police:
Only try this hat on to reflect on actions to avoid when dealing with conflict and differing opinions. The team will have disagreements from time-to-time, and the last thing you want to do is beat them down and shame them with the Scrum Guide.
You can come together as a team by tearing down the walls of insecurity and the addiction to always being right. Become curious and consider how each decision affects your team and many stakeholders. Only then can you arrive at a more complete and informed solution. This approach not only brings harmony within your team but ensures that your decisions reflect what is best for the organization as a whole.
Ideas for this blog were compiled from Chief Org Whisperer, Ravi Verma's wisdom from this 10 Thinking Hats of Scrum video:
October 25, 2023
Prior to joining Org Whisperers, Janie worked as Director of Communications and Community Relations for a nonprofit in Dallas. She also has a telecom background working in sales, marketing, and engineering. She graduated with honors from John Brown University with a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Management and received her Master’s degree in Marketing and Communication in 2012 from Franklin University.