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How to convince a team memeber of the rightness of your view?

 
#1 How to convince a team memeber of the rightness of your view?
29/09/2011 22:10

jimmy_24

I have recently started at a management consultancy firm and am facing a dilemma: how is it best to deal with a situation when you disagree with a team member, of the same level as you, as to the best approach to take?

Let me take as an example of this a recent theoretical exercise which we have been asked to complete in groups (of 4). The task is to submit an invitation to tender for a uk based call-centre operator who is facing stiff competition from overseas markets.

There are a couple of areas of disagreement: firstly there are certain strategic disagreements as to the plan of action. I have suggested for example that whilst we keep the call centres in the uk that we outsource certain functions such as IT and email functions. They refuse to accept this point and i have chosen not to press it any further.

Also there are disagreements as to the best methodological approach to adopt. I for example think it a good idea to have a list of 3 or 4 important changes for the company to implement and to throughout the ITT take a hypothesis driven approach. They disagree and say that we should not take any definitive attitude as to possible changes as we do not possess sufficient data to do so.

I am open to correction on all these points and would be happy to hear that i am wrong on them. Also more importantly when one is right and another team member is wrong how should you try to convince your colleague? It seems to me to amount to a battle of wills and who is most willing to concede first.

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#2 RE: How to convince a team memeber of the rightness of your view?
29/09/2011 23:18

ChristopherCrocodile to jimmy_24 (#1)

Hopefully(!) you'll be working with people who are intelligent, rational and willing to consider well reasoned arguments. Therefore, you should think carefully about /why/ you believe your approach is the best one, and come up with a persuasive, well reasoned and well supported argument expressing the reason or reasons. Then it is up to them to either find fault with your argument, to accept that you are right, or to block-headedly refuse to budge from their own view despite facing a convincing argument.

Obviously this is a simplification, as real people are far more complex, and a significant degree of diplomacy is vital (this is where being friends with your co-workers helps tremendously, as you can gauge much more easily how they will react in any kind of workplace confrontation).

It is also important to ask them to explain why they hold the views they do - ask them what they think are the benefits of their approach, try to understand as fully as possible their reasoning. Not only is this important for making sure that as a group you do make an informed and intelligent decision, but it also makes it clear that you are not trying to simply impose your will, but you are interested in assessing the merits of each idea, and that you want to consider carefully your colleagues' ideas.

I have to say though, the fact that you referred to it as "a battle of wills and who is most willing to concede first" is a little worrying. Surely as a consultant everything I've mentioned above should be pretty essential 'tools of the trade'?

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