JS Tip 424: Dissent and Decision-making, Part Two
From the Leadership Workshops: Dissent and Decision-making, Part Two
We began this discussion last week. Recent events in the United States demonstrate the relationship between dissent—disagreement—and authority in decision-making.
This is an edited reprint of a Jefferson Smith Newsletter article from the summer of 2008.
According to Garry Emmons in “Encouraging Dissent in Decision-making,” our “natural tendency to maintain silence and not rock the boat, a flaw at once personal and organizational, results in bad—sometimes deadly—decisions.”
Emmons stresses four concepts:
- All organized human groups are susceptible to suppression of views deemed contentious or disruptive to an organization’s foundational beliefs.
- Decisions are seldom better for silence, and overcoming that [silence] is a key task for the leader of any organization.
- Candor should be rewarded and incentives designed to encourage opposing points of view.
- An aware, open, and inquiring senior team is critical to sound decision-making.*
Different ideas are not insubordinate ideas. Dissent—and the arguments that answer dissenting opinions—strengthen decision-making.
What are your questions?
What are your disagreements?
We love this stuff.
*The list is a direct quote from Emmons. His article was published in Working Knowledge, the Harvard Business School newsletter, on October 1st, 2007. It’s available on the internet.