are optimizing for, it will be difficult to
Start the conversation by asking
questions that will uncover what the
other people are focused on. Try to understand what things matter to them.
Then you can determine if your goals
are different and if you need to negotiate or escalate. Your job is to figure out
how to align on the same outcomes.
Once you reach an agreement, it
can help to record it (on a whiteboard,
in an email or document, and so on)
since some people absorb and interpret things differently out loud and in
Sometimes this alignment is
enough to make decisions and move
2. Ask everyone to be open
to ideas and alternatives.
Sometimes people might think they
know the answer. They have already
When Ownership Turns Emotional
Becoming too attached to your work
can have negative consequences.
While each situation is unique, sometimes it can result in suboptimal decision-making. Here are a few real-world
examples (keep in mind that these can
be good or bad, depending on the circumstances):
• Building functionality in one system instead of another, based on the
team that owns it (that is, some manifestations of Conway’s law).
• Prioritizing tech debt or refactoring projects over new features.
• Refusal to adopt or purchase other
implementations that are superior in
• Maintaining an investment in a
project longer than justified (that is,
• Impaired or slow decision-making.
In a utopia, all people act rationally,
As a leader, this can be tough to
navigate, because you want to en-
courage strong ownership and en-
able people to work on projects that
satisfy them. At times, however, these
desires can be at odds with the deci-
sions you need to make for your busi-
ness and goals.
What do you do when you have
to work with someone who is too attached? Following are some of the
strategies that have worked for me.
Strategies for Navigating
1. Align on goals and purpose.
The first step is to ensure all parties agree on the objectives and goals.
If you don’t know which variables you