As friends, family, and colleagues very often we discuss many issues only to end with “Let’s just agree that we disagree on this topic”.

However, the problem here is not disagreeing, the problem is agreeing.

If you are a member of Toastmasters International, you will agree that you have been taught that a good way of expressing and presenting feedback is something known as a Sandwich method. Do you agree?

It is basically a method by which, you start with a positive comment to acknowledge something they have done well and prepare the person to be receptive to a negative comment which is the point you would like them to address and improve, and finally wrap up with another positive comment.

According to Roger Schwarz, an organizational psychologist, and leadership team consultant, is not as effective as you would think. He says that the sandwich approach is “a unilaterally controlling strategy — in other words, a strategy that revolves around you influencing others, but not being influenced by them in return.”

Wooh? Do you agree or disagree?

Before you answer the above, let me tell you a story about a scientist and how confirmation bias stops us from progressing.

In 1972, Dr John Yudkin, a British psychologist and nutritionist published a book named “Pure, White and Deadly”. He believed that the evidence that fat is bad for us was relatively weak and in his book he expressed with high concern that sugar was more of a threat to human health than fat.

However, the general consensus among the scientific community at the time was very different. Not because of a lack of facts but rather confirmation bias. The world’s top scientific community didn’t like that their ideas were challenged so publicly and as a result, they stopped inviting Yudkin to conferences and eventually side-lined him. Yudkin died in 1995 without ever receiving an award.

Today, we mostly agree that sugar is a huge cause of obesity, diabetes, and many other health-related issues. “Fat Chance” by Robert Lustig (A global best seller) has exposed the link between sugar and obesity.

Group Confirmation Bias was the major reason that facts were buried and general consensus led to pushing governments and food manufacturers to sell low-fat foods with sugar.

In 2015, scientists conducted a research, based on Max Plank’s suggestion that “new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation replaces previous old beliefs”, in which they identified more than 12,000 elite scientists and found that 452 of them died before retirement and that Max Plank’s statement held true.

For our disagreements to generate new insight and result in new discoveries instead of anger, Ian Leslie author of the book “Conflicted” suggests that “We must learn to manage the relationship issues that disagreements inevitably create. Only when there is shared understanding, respect, and trust can we really have a go at it and at this point anything is possible.”

In order to progress we should enter any discussion with the following two points.

A) First thing is that we should tell ourselves “We are open to change. We are willing to be proven wrong. We want to hear the other side and allow them to prove us wrong.” Once we have prepared ourselves to be open we are more likely to accept opposing views.

B) Before we begin we must also define a common objective: “What do we want to achieve from this meeting and what should the end result achieve.” When we start focusing on the end result we are less likely to be defensive of our views if someone can prove us wrong.

My question to you now is do you “disagree or agree with the above?”

If you are a startup founder, I encourage you to disagree and implement the culture of proper disagreement in your startup. Research has shown that companies, where constructive disagreement is practiced, are more productive and profitable than those who practice being nice to each other and try to minimize conflict.