It’s interesting to see the similarities between market researchers and comuunicators. Take a look at what our sister program, the Market Research Executive Board, has to say about how to disagree with others in your organization.
If we are really doing our jobs right, we should be spending a lot of time saying “no.”
- Project Scoping – Getting to the right question is tough, and we have to make sure that we are spending time on the most valuable work. Not only is it important to screen out low value work , but we have to help our business partners ask smarter questions .
- Insight Generation – A fact about your customers or competitors does not an insight make, and sometimes we need to tell our team members or business partners that the information they have isn’t enough
- Taking Action – Communicating research often turns into a war against conventional wisdom. We’ve got to break down business partners’ existing understanding to help them internalize insights
A couple of summers ago I asked whether we were too nice, and judging from the popularity of the post we might benefit from some training on disagreement. A recent article on CBS MoneyWatch outlines five smart ways to disagree with your boss, and I think that these lessons translate nicely to help you take a stand with anyone in your organization:
- Ask clarifying questions – Sometimes a well-placed question or two can help guide someone to the realization that their plan isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
- Pick your time and place – Know your audience and pick the time that will work best for them. And of course, avoid public places to make sure your feedback isn’t taken out of context.
- Accentuate the value to the team – Phrase your feedback as an improvement that will help the group. Lead with the value that your suggestions will create.
- Speak up early and often– If you have provided feedback consistently you will not be viewed as defensive or negative when you have a counter-opinion to share.
- Ask permission to provide feedback – For those with a more formal relationship, asking if it’s ok for you to share some feedback sets the tone for the conversation to come.
What do you think? What are your favorite tactics for sharing tough feedback with your business partners?
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