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Reposting this thought from the other discussion[0]:

>Third, use the phrase “disagree and commit.” This phrase will save a lot of time. If you have conviction on a particular direction even though there’s no consensus, it’s helpful to say, “Look, I know we disagree on this but will you gamble with me on it? Disagree and commit?” By the time you’re at this point, no one can know the answer for sure, and you’ll probably get a quick yes.

This sounds really powerful but also like it might be open to abuse (for example degenerating into passive agressiveness/half commitment). Does anyone use something similar in their own workplace? Does it work?

[0]: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14103818




I worked at Amazon for almost five years. Like every leadership principle, this one was easily perverted. Many people I worked with took this to heart, and among peers there was often an honorable sense of "OK, I will disagree and commit on this one".

But I also spent a few years in an org where I don't think I ever saw someone more senior disagree and commit to the opinion of someone more junior. At each level of the hierarchy it was used as a way to excuse "you will do what I say". That's fine if it happens once or twice, but laughable if it's always flowing in one direction.

The other leadership principles were perverted in similar ways. You wouldn't believe the range of things I saw justified as "customer obsession".


> You wouldn't believe the range of things I saw justified as "customer obsession".

I would like to hear some of them if you have the time and inclination.


Sure. Realizing as I go through them that all of these were from my peers in middle management; ICs tended to be much more genuine in their communication. Such is the nature of politics.

Things justified based on "customer obsession":

-Forced weekends and extra on-call assignments. This was bad managers making up for their poor planning and trying to use company values as a stick for their employees.

-Delaying the launch of a feature beta testers were raving about for six months to meet an operational metric that would clearly be made irrelevant by the launch, but for which the complainant had a goal in his commitments.

-So many similar things related to goals that someone needed to hit. Managers would say to other managers, in only slightly more words, "you are not helping my team, therefore you are not customer-obsessed". There was no consideration given as to what other impacts might fall out of the demanded action and how those might affect the customer.

-One that happened to me: I disagreed with the (clearly faulty) analysis of a dataset made by a higher-up manager. He was about to make a decision with his analysis that was going to affect several engineer-years worth of commitments, so I did a reply-all to his analysis respectfully explaining his mistake. He emailed my boss's boss (his peer) to complain that I lacked customer obsessions and to question whether I was a good fit for the team.

Essentially you can pervert anything to be about customer obsession (or any company value) if you want to. There's a fantastic book called Moral Mazes that does an excellent job of illustrating and explaining this phenomenon. It puts all of my examples above to shame.


Commented on linked comment. I think it boils down to a strong trust base where everyone has the best intentions in mind




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