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Ognjen Regoje
But you can call me Oggy

I make things that run on the web (mostly).
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What to do when you disagree with company direction

#career #work

Working for a small company often means that you get invested in the company vision. Over time, however, what the company is doing and the vision you’ve signed up for can start to drift.

At that point, working at the company starts to get difficult.

I found myself in that position once. My knee-jerk reaction was to cut losses and start looking for a new job. Instead, I decided to consider as carefully as possible what I should do.

I understood that I could affect change but only to a limited degree. I still found that vision was compelling and thought it worthwhile to put in the effort to preserve it.

Below is an outline of my conclusions on what to do if you find yourself in that situation.

Decide whether it’s worth it

Is the original vision something you truly believe in? To what degree?

Based on the answers to those questions, decide how much time and effort you’re willing to put in to institute the change.

If you do not believe in the original vision enough to put the effort in, skip to the last step.

Speak up

Once you’ve decided to make an effort, you should speak up. This can, of course, get tiring to others. So, you must be persistent and focus on not complaining but making strong arguments.

Be persistent

You won’t accomplish much if you just mention it once and then drop it. You’ll likely have to go through different people, departments and levels. You’ll have to be persistent to get others to buy-in to your vision.

Make strong arguments

You cannot argue for something just because you think it’s right in general or because it is your preference.

Your arguments need to make sense from a business perspective. You must be able to justify them with specific numbers.

For instance, if you’re arguing that you should use a specific tool, you should prepare real data about your or your team’s productivity.

If you’re arguing for trying something new, you should be well informed about the pros and cons and how you’d tackle them.

Your arguments must be realistic and not based on marketing.

Disagree and commit

While you’re working on the change, you must disagree and commit.

Even though you might be “losing” at that particular moment, you must not let your own performance slip.

If your performance worsens, you lose your capital for change.

When you’re arguing for a change, your performance must be exemplary, demonstrating that you know what you’re talking about. And delivering the best results possible is the best way to do that.

Don’t ever “I told you so”

The main thing saying “I told you so” does is cause animosity. It may be tempting to do so when you didn’t get your way and things didn’t go according to plan, but it does no good.

Instead, use those moments to further your change while creating agreement and goodwill and avoiding hostility.

Don’t say:

If we had done it my way this wouldn’t have happened

Do say:

It’s too bad this didn’t work out, but we still have another thing to try

You must make others understand that you want what’s best for the company.

Be prepared for your shot

You might get your shot to prove what you’re lobbying for is the correct thing to do.

Be aware that you might still not have the team’s full support at this point.

That’s why you must be prepared in advance.

Set a realistic (and not under-promised) goal for the trial period, and then do your best to over-deliver.

The experiment’s outcome will dictate how the rest of the discussion goes.

But be prepared to be proven wrong

You must keep in mind is that what you’re looking to do is prove, or disprove your hypothesis. That means you must genuinely consider the results and prepare to admit defeat if it does not work.

Be graceful

How you handled the previous steps, how well you executed, how well you handled victory (or defeat) is likely to dictate whether your position in the company remains tenable.

That’s why it’s important to be genuine and helpful and not confrontational.

If you “win”, but are a bad winner, your position will get worse.

If, on the other hand, you “lose” but you did well and were respectful, your position is likely to get better regardless.


If you “lose”, or more likely never get the chance, or alternatively if you “win”, but your results are dismissed, it’s time to reconsider the questions in step one.

Are you willing to try again?

Be conscious of the sunk-cost fallacy here. Just because you’ve put in the effort once doesn’t mean you should put in even more effort to salvage it.


If you’ve reached the limits of how much time and effort you’re willing to invest and didn’t manage to institute change, it’s time to resign. There’s no point in sticking around if you don’t believe in the work you’re doing.

Similarly, if at any point the situation makes you stop caring, it means it’s time to move on. You owe it to yourself to work on something that you care about and where your opinions will be heard.

It’s also a decent thing to do to make way for someone who does buy into their vision and way of doing things more completely.