You don’t need to Agree, You have to take Notice

Anyone had a good idea?  Tried to express it?  What happened?

Do you receive a positive response?  Did you get shouted down immediately?

Maybe the response was a bit more sinister and insidious manifesting itself in initial tepid enthusiasm and then degenerating into passive aggressive behaviour like the occasional snide remark.

In the world of software and solution delivery, I’ve learnt the hard way to take everyone’s opinion on board.  That is any idea is a good idea and up for grabs.

Any idea deserves patient and respectful discourse.  Why do we want to do this?

1.  They can save a lot of pain and heartache later.  On many occasions suggestions have been made (by myself and others) only to have more expensive mistakes occur because these ideas and suggestions were not heeded.

2. Being respectful will encourage more ideas so we can avoid point 1.  On the other hand discouragement of ideas will prevent ideas from coming forward.  We should be humble enough to accept any comment and treat it with dignity.  And don’t feign dignity, mean it, you will be found out if you aren’t and you will never attain respect for yourself.

3. And coming off point 2, you gain respect for yourself.  Your colleagues will see you as an equal and therefore feel more comfortable coming to you which in turn gives you trust;

4. Respect and Trust builds true collaboration and from collaboration we can really do great things together.

5. It’s good for your health and the health of others.  This comes from giving up the command and control mentality which creates the stresses on ourselves and on others.

6. Good health encourages more quality thinking.  You’ve accepted their suggestion they feel good.  You feel good for taking it on.  You’ve got past that feeling of lost control – others have control as well – a shared control.

7. It helps with the bottom line.  Point 1 illustrates what are real tangible examples.  Other examples are less sick days.  Improved productivity are quantifiable as well.

8. The most important thing, happiness is increased.  That 8 hours spent of the day at work should be a happy feeling.  No more Mondayitis, man flu etc.  Let’s enjoy all of it.


At any level we should accept ideas for improvement.  Try to mitigate our natural and human tendency to immediately disregard the opinions of others.  “you don’t need to agree, you have to take notice” is the mantra I live by.

For more – take a look at the Toyota Way,  Turn the Ship Around by David Marquet, Lean Software Development by the Poppendeicks, Peopleware by Tim Lister and Tom DeMarco, Slack by Tom DeMarco, Agile Coaching and works in Systems Thinking.  All of these are related and intertwined.

Hopefully I will write some more about this and similar topics and even update this post 🙂


11 responses to “You don’t need to Agree, You have to take Notice

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