I’ve seen people who agree on the major issues waste hours arguing over details. It’s more important to do the big things well than the small perfectly.
—Ray Dalio, Principles
To make the most of a good disagreement it is essential to find common ground . It helps at the start of a conversation to establish the common goals all parties are trying to achieve. Understanding that despite the disagreement you are trying to achieve the same things will help people have a more constructive conversation.
When a disagreement emerges spend some time agreeing on what the disagreement is about. Clarifying the area of disagreement and the position each person holds helps the conversation stay objective. Often there is more overlap between the position of the disagreeing parties than initially thought. Identifying this common ground before focusing on the areas of disagreement is a useful tactic for having more productive conversations. Frequently the conversation focuses disproportionately on the areas of disagreement and all but ignores the much larger area of common ground.