You’ve made your case. From your perspective the path is clear, and your argument is completely supported by the facts. The problem is… well, you’re in the minority. Using the same set of facts, the majority has come to a different position. You’re outvoted. So, what do you do?
Don’t Carry Hard Feelings
No, they aren’t idiots. They just have a different take on the optimal course of action. If everyone agreed all the time, the world would be a dull and less innovative place. You need to get behind your team at this point, and show that you can be counted on and trusted. Keep an open mind to see how things can turn out, and work hard to implement the plan.
The Argument’s Over
Avoid trying to start the argument all over again, or trying to create factions within the team to come over to your side. Once the decision’s made, the time for debate has passed, and keeping it going will be bad for everyone — but especially you.
I Told You So
Of course, it may come to pass that you’ll be proved right — that it would have been easier, cheaper or faster to have done it your way. Avoid the temptation to gloat or say “I told you so.” Believe me, everyone will be acutely aware that you told them so. People make mistakes. As long as the team is learning from its miscalculations, it will be heading in the right direction. And remember: You never know when you’ll be on the wrong side of “I told you so.”
They Told Me So
Of course, it may well turn out that the team made the collective right decision, albeit on a different path than you advocated. This can be very enlightening. You might learn that there’s no one right way to do something, or it could broaden your thinking so that next time you consider factors for success that you hadn’t considered before.
Inability to disagree and commit in a healthy way can lead to what author Patrick Lencioni describes as one of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: Lack of Commitment. When the team isn’t 100 percent committed, cohesion and trust break down and failure looms. Over the course of your career, you’ll find yourself in both the majority and minority. To both grow and be successful, you’re going to have to master the art of Disagree and Commit.