The other day I was having a conversation with some of my coach friends, and the concept came up about having a “disputable goal.” I confess that I’d never heard the phrase before, so of course I found it fascinating.

The idea is that when you have a goal, it should be possible to disagree with it. But why is this useful?

Imagine that you’re building an organization, and you really care that the people get along with each other well. So your goal is to “handle conflicts professionally.” Sounds good, right? Who could possibly think this is a bad thing?

I might argue that it’s simply not audacious enough. C’mon, EVERY organization wants to handle conflicts professionally. You haven’t told me that you’re any different than everyone else.

You might instead say that you “want to encourage healthy disagreement and build towards consensus.”

Now you have something I might challenge. Do you REALLY want to encourage disagreement? That’s dangerous, right?

How do you build on disagreement to come to consensus? That’s hard!

And why would you possibly want to ENCOURAGE disagreement? What if people already agree – do you want to stop their progress?

This, my friends, is why the concept of a “disputable goal” is powerful. It creates the kind of conversation which digs deep, and challenges assumptions.

It makes people think.