If you're in a gnarly disagreement and you feel like the conversation keeps going in circles, here's one way out: tease apart the questions that get raised in the disagreement into FACTS, VALUES, and PROPOSALS. Each category represents a realm of disagreement that get resolved in different ways. You resolve a disagreement about facts by looking them up and doing scientific research. You resolve a disagreement about values by examining core beliefs and sharing experiences that formed your beliefs. And you resolve a disagreement about proposals by making a prediction and then seeing how the world unfolds.
I think of these categories as the realms of the 🧠 HEAD (facts), ❤️ HEART (values), and ✋HANDS (proposals). You can also think of them as the realms of WHAT, WHY, and HOW. This trifecta keeps popping up everywhere I look.
Last weekend there was an argument on Twitter about whether or not Facebook employees should feel proud of their work despite the harm that the company is potentially causing in the world. Some said they should quit unless they wanted to be complicit in these problems. Others said that should be a personal decision, and that staying at the company would put them in the best position to help the company correct itself. My friend Vicki Tan and I mapped this to the 3 categories and collected as many perspectives as we could, to see what would happen.
Here’s a link to the full doc if you want to dive deeper.
A couple hours after we posted this, Twitter announced that it was going to ban political ads, which is a step beyond anything else that I had seen proposed in the conversation, and evidence that people at these companies can make a difference internally:
I’m interested in using this template with a couple more disagreements in the coming weeks. It’s a lot easier for me to talk about specific disagreements like this than just constantly ask people to buy my book (pssst it comes out in less than 3 weeks). Have you seen any disagreements online or in the news that you think would be interesting to dissect in this way? Let me know!