The Daily Drucker : Organise Dissent

Decisions of the kind the executive has to make are not made well by acclamation. They are well made only if based on the clash of conflicting views, the dialogue between different points of view, the choice between different judgements. The first rule in decision making is that one does not make decision unless there is disagreement.
Alfred P Sloan Jr is reported to have said at meeting of one of the GM top ommittees, “Gentlemen, I take it we are all in complete agreement on the decision here.” Everyone around the table nodded assent. “Then,” continued Sloan, “I propose we postpone further discussion of this matter until our next meeting to give ourselves time to develop disagreement and perhaps gain some understanding of what the decision is all about.” There are three reasons why dissent is needed. It first safeguards the decision maker against becoming the prisoner of the organisation. Everybody is special pleader, trying – often in perfectly good faith – to obtain the decision he favours. Second, disagreement alone can provide alternatives to decision. And decision without an alternative is desperate gamblers’ throw, no matter how carefully thought through it might be. Above all, disagreement is needed to stimulate the imagination.

ACTION POINT: Organise dissent for particular decision by bringing people with points of view into the decision process. Choose on the basis of “what is right” not “who is right”.

Management Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices

Extracted from Peter Drucker’s book The Daily Drucker.

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