When divergence is good

Innovation-cartoon

There are times in teams and organisations where people disagree. People are sometimes wary of disagreement – even downright fearful. But what if we could harness disagreement in a way that opens up conversations, in ways that enable people to talk about what they see differently.  How that might help to do things in different and better ways?

Scaling can help with that. It can help to open up a conversation about what is already helpful and what might be small and do-able next steps. It can even be a really good way of checking in to see if everyone is on the same page, and helps in a process of putting that right if they are not.

Here’s how to do it:

Ask people to rate their current situation on a particular issue. If someone says their current situation is a 7 and another says theirs is a 4, that’s just fine. The person scaling 7 may believe we are closer to perfection than the 4 scorer. Or they might just be more easily impressed. Or an optimist.

It doesn’t matter.

Ask the 7 scorer –

  • How come you’ve scaled it as a 7? What’s making it that high?
  • What would it take to make it an 8?

Ask the 4 scorer –

  • What have you noticed that your colleague may have missed?
  • What would it take for you to raise your rating to a 5?

Ask them to compare notes on what each has seen that the other has missed or valued differently.

From the answers you receive, you can enjoy the benefits of multiple perspectives while discovering aspects of each personality that might help in the next steps. Perhaps one team member is more skeptical and enjoys checking claims, and the other’s more optimistic disposition would suit exploratory discussions with a new partner. This is a really good way of testing out and finding appropriate roles for this particular task in the early stages, without the expense or time of a formal team assessment or other intervention

You don’t have to be in a team to get the benefits of scaling either. It’s a good developmental check in solo projects.