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'Agree to Disagree' Can Lead to Feuds and Fallouts. Here's a Better Way to Handle Conflict. The cofounders of Smart Passive Income have learned that pushing through disagreements leads to successes more than avoidance and resentments.

By Jason Feifer Edited by Frances Dodds

This story appears in the January 2023 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Ashlee Weaver
Pat Flynn, left, and his cofounder Matt Gartland.

When Pat Flynn disagreed with people, he knew what to do: Agree to disagree, and move on. Isn't that how civilized people act? he thought. Value productivity over endless fighting?

But back then, Flynn was a solopreneur running his company Smart Passive Income. Eventually it grew beyond his abilities, so he talked with frequent collaborator Matt Gartland about forming a new company. Gartland came with a lot more partnership experience — he'd been a founder six other times, so he had seen what worked and what didn't.

That's why, when Flynn and Gartland eventually disagreed on something, Gartland wouldn't let Flynn simply move on. They cannot agree to disagree, he said. They must instead disagree and commit.

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