Disagree and commit.
We strive to keep an open mind. That includes listening to opinions that make us think hard, not just views that make us feel well. We hire people based on their attitude and the decency of their behavior, not the similarity of their beliefs.
Disagreement is a chance to learn, not a threat to our ego. It will force us to think sharply and help us improve. If you disagree with certain decisions, you are obligated to respectfully challenge them. A challenge is always given based on arguments and in a polite and solution-oriented way.
Politeness doesn’t require us to hold back on criticism, shy away from disagreement, or bite our tongues on uncomfortable truths. It simply asks us to consider the impact of our words on others and find a respectful way to convey our views. Having said that, the point of giving feedback is not to make people feel good today. It’s to help them and us as a company do better tomorrow. On the other hand, anyone can destroy an argument. You add value by creating a new one or improving upon an old one.
We should be calm, considered, and thoughtful in our dealings with each other and the world at large. We don’t act out of spite, we don’t rush to judgment, we don’t jump to conclusions. When we get radical transparency right, it doesn’t feel brutal. It feels helpful. Instead of stressing about what people did wrong, tell them how they can do better. That way, we motivate change and help others build their ideas up into something better.
When there are misunderstandings, we assume positive intent. And when our work is criticized, the first question to ask isn’t whether they’re right or wrong. It’s what we can learn from their perspective. Even if they’re judging us unfairly or harshly, we can still gain insight about how to elicit a different reaction next time.
As such, we don’t take these disagreements personally and don’t feel our authority being undermined. We listen, we think, and we respond calmly and clearly – directly addressing the idea or the situation, not the personality or the pressure.
We don’t debate until we have reached consensus. Once all arguments are shared and the facts are on the table, we come to a decision. Everybody commits fully to it and helps to the best of her ability to reach the intended outcome.