When Two People in Business Always Agree, One of Them is Unnecessary

When we consider moving to another firm or department, we’re searching for that elusive and magical quality known as “fit.” But how can we know if our new team will be a good fit for us?

It turns out that a team’s approach to diverse problem-solving styles is a major determining factor in our happiness as team members. Most of us recognize that we work better with some people than others, regardless of personal likes and dislikes. But we’ve also experienced differences in problem-solving style that can cause the kind of strife that derails collaboration.

Answering two questions will give you insight to determine fit:

1. Do this firm’s employees collaborate effectively?

2. If so, is my problem-solving style similar to the firm’s dominant problem-solving style? That is, do I fit in seamlessly? Alternatively, does the firm value and appreciate employees with diverse problem-solving styles like mine?

In those cultures in which unique thinking is viewed as an asset, colleagues who think differently are appreciated. Diversity is not just about race, gender or generation! It’s also about different ways of thinking, working and problem-solving. If colleagues are able to truly harness diversity through unfiltered debate about the issues, they will commit to decisions even when those decisions are in opposition of their own views.

As William Wrigley, Jr. said, “When two people in business always agree, one of them is unnecessary.”

The challenge of any diverse group is not to mistake stylistic differences for subpar levels of ability, creativity or problem-solving. Problem-solving style is about how a person solves problem. Level is how well a person solves problems.

When there is trust within a team, it is possible and sustainable to appreciate a diversity of problem-solving styles. (Read more on Arudia’s blog about building trust within a team.)

When colleagues know that the debate is about the issue and not posturing for personal gain, the focus is truly on solving the problem. Remember, passionate debate is necessary to the firm’s — and even your personal — success! Why? Because although it may be counterintuitive, it turns out that a diversity of problem-solving styles produces the best outcome in the shortest period of time!

For more insights on team-building and problem-solving, sign up for The Workplace Toolkit Virtual Training Course with our Summer School Special. Regularly priced at $547, now just $97 with the code “SummerSchool.”