Handling Feedback And Disagreement

. Feedback

- need to test whether the assumptions on which a decision has been made are still valid or whether they are becoming obsolete and need to be thought through again. Time and reality never stand still.

- it is important to build the feedback around direct exposure to reality, ie need to visit the "scene of the action".

. Disagreement

"...Unless one has considered alternatives, one has a closed mind......decisions......are made well if based on the clash of conflicting views, the dialogue between differing points of view, the choice between different judgments. The first rule in decision-making is that one does not make a decision unless there is disagreement..."

Peter Drucker, 2001

- there are 3 reasons for the importance of disagreement

i) it is a safeguard against the decision-makers becoming prisoners of the organisation. The only way to break out of the prison of special pleading and pre-conceived notions is to make sure of argued, documented, thought-through disagreements and dialogues

ii) disagreements provide alternatives from which to choose. Encouraging disagreement reduces the chances of the decision being wrong.

iii) disagreements stimulate imagination. This is important to handle the uncertainty of the future

- alternatives provide a choice, especially if the decision proves deficient or wrong in execution

"...disagreement converts the plausible into right and the right into the good decision..."

Peter Drucker, 2001

- decision-makers need to start out with the commitment to find out and understand why people disagree

- one alternative is to do nothing. What will happen if we do nothing? Will the problem take care of itself? In other words, is the decision really necessary? Despite individual decision-makers differing in style, ie risk-averse, risk-takers, etc, there are some common rules in this situation, ie

"...act if only on balance the benefit greatly outweighs cost and risk. Act or do not act, but do not hedge or compromise..."

Peter Drucker, 2001

. If people demand another study, these 2 questions need to be asked: is there any reason to believe that additional study will prove anything new? Is there reason to believe that the new is likely to be relevant?


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