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Conflicts: Do we seek Agreement or Alignment?

Have you ever been in a meeting where all of the sudden you find yourself entangled in details and the debate diverges into endless and unproductive discussions? Chances are that you are overly focused on reaching an agreement: the ones with the stronger data or support must “convince” the rest, hence “win”.
Ego-driven personalities may well thrive in such situations, yet, is it serving the common purpose? How can we realign and focus to better serve the business?

Often in meetings and negotiations we loose sight of the initial intention.

That is when our anxiety and ego play a big role, and we enter a battle for “who has the best data” or “who has the most support/alliances/votes”.

When this happens, the result is “winners and losers”, which often means lack of engagement, damaged relationships and bad feelings.

The best negotiators, the leaders with confidence and influence, stop such unproductive battles and put the classic “elephant” on the table by going back to basics and reminding everybody “why we are here”.

The table below summarizes the difference between Alignment and Agreement.

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