Why differences of opinion are important in a startup


Every individual has a different kind of upbringing, different values and morals, different likes and dislikes, and different talents. It’s what makes each and every one of us unique. A startup is essentially a compilation of wildly different views, values, and expectations of how business should be conducted. The ideal team should possess talent, experiences, and opinions that are, on the whole, impossible for any one person to acquire in a lifetime.

Image : shutterstock

The world is changing, and so are the people in it. There are myriad opportunities for a company, but being horse-eyed and oblivious to diversity and differing opinions will do more harm than good. Arguments are not necessarily a bad thing, and as Robert Ferguson, co-author of Making Conflict Work: Harnessing the Power of Disagreement puts it, clash of ideas can be used as a positive force.

Here are four reasons why differences of opinion are good for startups.

They offer alternatives

Constructive conflict is a great way to achieve the desired goals. In a startup, an entrepreneur will require an all-hands-on-deck situation, and differences of opinion are bound to arise. But it is through argument and rebuttals that one can arrive at right conclusions. Through positive arguments, those involved can find the loopholes in the solutions provided, thus presenting themselves with better ideas.

They teach flexibility

When faced with a situation of conflict, the process of adjusting and accommodating works both ways. The two admirable qualities that come out of conflict are humility and openness. Negotiation is the key to any successful conduct of business. Thus, the more open and flexible the team members get, the more apt will they become in handling complicated situations intelligently.

They provide solutions

Conflict is a one-way ticket to innovation and reinvention. When existing structures and processes are no longer in place, there is need for newer solutions. Of course, no one likes the status quo to get disrupted, but it is only through change and constant development that a startup can achieve desired results. For any business to grow, its entire foundation must be continuously analysed and fine-tuned.

They increase group solidarity

A recent study shows that motivated employees are likely to be more productive than those who are not. Difference of opinions is all about negotiations and solutions, and while the team members are working towards these solutions, they are unconsciously spending considerable time together trying to find the apt resolution. Constructive conflict management motivates team members to work with efficiency and become more productive, thus helping restore values of group solidarity and mutual respect.

However, these methods can no way be ensured at the cost of a positive work environment, and in no way are we asking entrepreneurs to pit employees against each other. While you are keeping an eye out for the dangers of too much conflict, don’t go out on a limb and eliminate the possibilities of any conflict in the first place.