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The Power of Difference

July 22, 2011

As an advertising company, we are responsible for meeting the needs of our clients. I was reading this article today when I realized how important differing opinions can be and that disagreement is not always a negative thing. Here is a portion of the article I just love! Disagreement can be achieved without making personal attacks:

“First, it’s important that debates are waged on equal footing without either side wielding its power over the other. This is the toughest dimension for debates between agencies and their clients. Because the agency knows that its role is limited to making recommendations (the client’s is to decide), it’s critical for the client to take the lead in open dialogue and discussion. This goes for bosses and subordinates, too. We all know who gets to make the final call, which means it’s even more important to keep the power within the debate as balanced as possible.

Second, challenge the idea, not the person. Debates should always be about the work, and only about the work — not the people creating it or managing it. While it’s impossible to keep passion out of debates, personalities should always be left out. Avoid saying things like, “You never …” or “You always …” even if they do. And, cut each other some slack. Assume their interests are as pure as yours, but they just see the world a little differently than you do.”


What great advice! It is much easier in the here and now to agree and go along with whoever is in charge, but if you want to make a lasting relationship, one that can stand the tests of time, it is important to cultivate an environment where a healthy debate can occur. Plus, you can take this and apply it to any relationship!

Happy debating!

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