Recently I was in a meeting where, after a long discussion, a decision was finally made to take action. The person who was most vocal in arguing against the action was asked whether or not he supported the decision. Even though it was apparent to the team that he was not on board, he said “I’m fine!” The owner called him out and asked him “Yes or no, do you support the decision?” The dissenter hesitated. The owner went on, “Whenever I hear someone say they’re fine what they mean to say is that they’re:
Not bought in, and

So, is that what you meant by ‘Fine’?”

RB_Fine_W200At this point the person said “Well, since you’ve asked me, I disagree with what we’re getting ready to do.”

The owner patiently said, “It’s okay to disagree but we must take action. Can you accept and support the decision even though you disagree?

After a pause the person said, “Yes, I can and will support the decision. Thanks for hearing me out. I really am fine now.

How many times have you heard someone say they’re “Fine” when you know they’re really NOT fine? If you don’t hear them out you will miss an opportunity to get their commitment. When people feel they’re not being heard in the meeting, they’ll lobby for their point of view after the meeting. You won’t have their commitment and they’ll likely undermine the action being taken.

Sometimes, the best decisions are made when the dissenter is allowed to explain what he means by “Fine”. Don’t miss the opportunity.

More by René Boer

Republished with the Author's Permission.

Originally published in on October 14, 2014
More by René Boer