“Cooperation is the thorough conviction that nobody can get there unless everybody gets there.”  Virginia Burden

The company’s goal was to increase annual sales by 15%. Each division’s leader had to draw up a coordinated strategy. In this context, John, as a member of the German division, felt that his colleague, Anna, had made the wrong decision in this respect. He therefore decided to go directly to his boss, Bettina, to present his solution without prior notice to his direct boss. 

Can you guess what happened?

– Bettina heard John’s story and was alarmed. She called Anna and told her how angry she was.

– Anna listened to Bettina and did not understand what was going on as there was a lot of information missing.

– Anna got angry with John and told him later.

– John did not manage to change the decision, and now his relationship with Anna is more strained than before.

Did the situation get solved as a team? Are their relationships better? Do they feel better? 

Situations like this happen quite often and we have become unaware of how harmful they are. 

Below, I share with you a different way that creates a “clean” escalation, which strengthens relationships even in differences.

– We never escalate alone and without warning! When we have a difference, we “agree to disagree” and clarify who has the decision.

– If we want to share it with someone else, we always let them know and offer to do it together, where everyone shares their perspective.

– If someone else has to decide for us because we have a difference of opinion, we state our perspectives and let the new decision-maker do it and commit to the decision, no matter what it is.

Powerful question to ask yourself:

How can I take care of relationships even when we disagree about something?

Make change happen:

Next time you don’t like or agree with someone:

  • Listen and understand the other person’s argument.
  • Clarify who is the decision-maker and respect it.
  • If you are going to “escalate”, do it clean, do it together!


I invite you to subscribe to my newsletter, so you can successfully lead transformation processes: inspiration to engage, a question to reflect on, and an action to try. Make change happen!

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