The 13 Principles of Disagreement

Agreement hinders effective decision-making.

The bobble-heads that surround leaders may soothe the leader’s ego, but they harm organizations. They protect their salaries.

Agreement before dissent is a pathetic waste of talent.

when good options are present, decisions are compromises

“The first rule in decision-making is that one does not make a decision unless there is disagreement.” Peter Drucker

13 principles of disagreement:

  1. Dissatisfaction drives decisions. If you aren’t dissatisfied, what are you talking about?
  2. Real decisions require alternatives.
  3. End decision-making meetings when they begin with agreement. They’re a waste of time.
  4. Commission everyone to come to meetings with an option for consideration.
  5. Decisions aren’t decisions until there are at least two viable options on the table.
  6. Spend more time developing options than wading through information. Studying the problem is helpful; options are essential. Chances are you don’t need another study.
  7. Options give meaning to decisions. The better the options, the more effective the decision.
  8. Successful leaders explore real options. Weak leaders need agreement.
  9. Disagree without being disagreeable.
  10. Invite the entire team to argue for and against each option, regardless of their preferred position.
  11. Argue for the option, not against a person.
  12. Grab an oar and row, regardless of the final decision. Own it.
  13. Evaluate decisions, frequently. Adapt as you go.

Options, compromise, and values:

When good options are present, decisions are compromises.

Any good option will work. If it won’t work, it’s not an option. It takes courage to compromise – to give up the good that might be lost when choosing one direction over another.

The true value of values is revealed in compromise.

Make compromises based on values, not just the bottom line. In a world of options, pursue the best, but never attain it.

How might teams develop options?

What rules for disagreement might you add?