Laurie Schaecher writes about the importance of alignment:

Agree to disagree – a commonly overlooked phrase, with major repercussions. It sounds harmless, and can even end disagreements on a friendly note. But don’t be fooled by the seeming good nature of the expression. “Agree to disagree” is code for “I’ll do my thing and you do yours” and erodes organizational alignment. It is a dangerous path that results in your team being on opposing sides of the issue instead of aligned on the greater purpose. “Agree to disagree” can’t, and shouldn’t, be used to end important conversations.

What is the right way? Laurie says it’s to “replace ‘agree to disagree’ with ‘disagree and commit'” to a common vision. In other words, passionate dialogue doesn’t mean anything if there’s not alignment on the path forward for an organization, or its programming, or whatever.

But replacing “agree to disagree” with “disagree and commit” is difficult, and it’s going to require not just dialogue, but assertive leadership. And leadership involves the right amount of ego in aligning people.

I’m all for healthy collaboration and thoughtful dialogue, but I think the role of ego in aligning on a common vision deserves more acknowledgment.