Disagree and Commit: Strengthen Your Relationships

Three small words will help you build loyalty and stronger relationships: Disagree and commit.

I almost killed the perfect vacation.

A few years ago, my wife and I were enjoying the beautiful Italian coast. After breakfast, we tried to decide which beach to go to…

“How about the beach from the other day?” I suggested. “It was perfect.”

“Let’s go somewhere new,” my wife said.

We discussed.

We compromised.

Her beach today. My beach tomorrow.

When we arrived, my wife was in heaven…

“Turquoise water. Perfect snorkling. Look at these amazing views!”

I wasn’t as enthusiastic.

No chairs, I thought to myself. Hard sand. Rough surf.

All I could think was that my beach would have been the better choice. I wanted to complain.

But before I said anything I remembered three very important little words:

No, no…not those.


Disagree and commit.

“Disagree and commit” actually started as a management principle, but it can also help build emotional intelligence: the ability to understand and manage emotions.

The point is to first encourage open discussion and healthy disagreement.

At the end, though, once a decision is made…Any who still disagree with the decision must “commit.”

They should fully support that decision, and try their best to make it work.

For example, I had agreed to let my wife choose the beach for the day. What would complaining bring?

I would just make us both miserable.

So, I did the opposite…

I looked for all the great things about the beach, and voiced them out loud.

[Me]: “This water is gorgeous, honey. We’ve never seen this many fish. And the view is spectacular!”

“I know,” she said, excitedly.

“Isn’t it great?”

Disagree and commit can help you at work and at home. How many times have you seen a great idea get the green light, only to fizzle out due to lack of support? Or a decision get sabotaged by passive aggressive comments?

But what if instead, everyone tried their best to make the decision work?

This type of support builds an environment founded on trust. And that helps you get the best out of everyone.

So, when it comes time to make a decision, and there’s just no convincing the other person, ask yourself:

Can I disagree and commit?

If you can, you’ll show you’re willing to go all in… encouraging others to do the same for you.


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