I’ve been working through Ray Dalio’s Principles (highly recommended). One concept that really resonated with me is one of thoughtful disagreement.
“In thoughtful disagreement, your goal is not to convince the other party that you are right – it is to find out which view is true and decide what to do about it. In thoughtful disagreement, both parties are motivated by the genuine fear of missing important perspectives.” (Principles, Ray Dalio)
Often times, product decisions and debates lean heavily on opinions – this is when product teams lose their path and stop making decisions that benefit the user.
I believe that it’s every Product Leader’s responsibility to cultivate a culture where the team (and stakeholders) have conversations around what’s best for the user (first) and the company (second). If you find that you’re in an environment where the loudest voice in the room wins (it could be your voice), it’s time to take a step back and think about whether you’re truly making the best product decisions.
The best product teams that have a growth & experimental mindset bring customer stories, past experiment results, and data to the table. It becomes less a battle of opinions but a constructive debate on how best to solve for the user’s need.