Disagree at your own risk

philmckinney | September 13, 2011

Article

Disagree at your own risk

In my opinion, those organizations that encourage disagreement have a higher likelihood of success.  Why?  Because encouraging team member to voice their disagreement brings out alternative ideas, enhancements and perspectives that management didn’t consider or overlooked.

Be careful because most organizations don’t have a culture that supports open disagreement.  Once management makes their decision, they actively resist any feedback or challenges to their ideas.  In these organizations, if a person goes public with their criticism, they risk being fired. The result is that management forces the disagreement underground which destroy’s whatever culture the company had.

Let me clarify – I’m not saying that everyone should just walk around and criticize the ideas and decisions of others.  No one wants to be part of a team that has that one person who sees their role as the “devil advocate” and always disagrees.

At the same time, don’t hold back if you truly disagree with the direction that is being taken. Those that keep it to themselves have no leg to stand on to complain about the outcome.  You owe it to yourself, your team and the organization to raise your concerns.

If you disagree with a decision, I would suggest you:

  1. Start off by saying something supportive of the idea
  2. Then mention your concern in the form of a question such as “I’m sure you considered X alternative.  Is there a reason it got rejected?”
  3. Then pitch your suggestion.

Do you have any good stories of what happened when someone disagreed with their boss?  I would love to hear them …

 

  • kstagg

    Where was the dissension at HP when you bailed on your $1.2 Billion Palm investment after less than 2 months on the market? You never even gave it a chance.

  • Jack

    A little unfair to speculate as to where his dissension might have been. You receive the information, offer the dissent, counter decisions are made and you move on. Just because you have a good idea or alternate path does not mean that others will act on it or go along.

  • http://www.rodhardman.com Rod Hardman

    Phil,
    I respect you a lot, but since the Compaq Aquisition groupthink and hiding at ones desk has been the norm. I”ve seen this in Canada and California. The cause? Insecure middle / senior leaders trying to “control”.
    Please continue to be vocal. The madness must end.
    Rod H ( former HP)