5. Assume Good Intent

Lets face it. There are going to be times when things don’t go your way, when others don’t agree with you or don’t align with your way of thinking. There are two sides to every coin and you won’t always be on the same side of the issue as your colleagues. There may be times that your peers are not shy about pointing out these differences. At Microsoft many practice the art of precision questioning.  This may seem like you are under attack when it comes from many fronts at once. But instead of getting defensive and negative, it is best to assume good intent and not take anything personally.  When someone challenges you and you take the time to really dig in, most of the time you find both of you are working towards what you think is the best solution for the company but there may be different goals, motivations, directives or an incomplete understanding of the facts. What I have found works best is to have a follow-up discussion one on one to try and understand what those differences are so then you can work to find common ground. Assuming good intent helps minimize potential swirl and churn that is simply not productive.

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