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Diagnosing 4 Disagreement Styles

Disagreement StylesWe published one of our most popular blogs almost one year ago: How to Teach a Know-It-All.  In it, we provided tools for overcoming business partners’ unshakeable confidence in what they think they know, even when that information is wrong.   

So, Judith Glaser’s blog on HBR about the need to be right intrigued me.  Here’s the basis for why it’s so hard to break a business partner’s gut intuition: threatening someone’s intellectual prowess causes a similar chemical reaction in the brain as threatening them physically, and leads them to react in one of four ways:

  • Fight-continuing to argue their point with you
  • Flight-adapting to group consensus
  • Freeze-disengaging from the discussion altogether
  • Appease-agreeing with others to end the disagreement

Keeping these disagreement styles in mind as you plan to present research findings can help you plan for pushback. Whether you’re using storytelling techniques to make your message resonate, or gamification techniques to get business partners on-board during the research process, identifying disagreement when it happens will certainly help you embed better customer understand throughout the organization.

CEB members, check out some of our best communication tools to help you:

  • Identify influential stakeholders
  • Analyze business partners’ learning needs
  • Tailor communication styles to stakeholders’ needs
  • Tailor communication to coincide with partners’ decisions

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