10 Practical Ways to Make Better Decisions

Weak leaders silence dissent; wise invite it.

Peter Drucker said, “If you have quick consensus on an important matter, don’t make the decision.”

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All important decisions are made better by constructive dissent.

Leaders with authority and power are responsible to invite, explore, honor, and reward constructive dissent.

10 ways to make better decisions with constructive dissent:

  1. Exercise transparency that eliminates politics and game-playing. Hidden agendas are manipulation, not constructive dissent.
  2. Give a trusted colleague permission to challenge you. Karin Hurt, co-author of Winning Well, told me she is so passionate she could drive the bus off a cliff. She had a team member who had permission to say, “I’m concerned about the bus.”
  3. Practice flexibility that manifests as willingness to change your mind. Dissent is unimaginable when leaders don’t change their minds.
  4. Invite teams to poke holes in decisions. “We aren’t moving forward until we can poke holes in this decision.” David Dye, co-author of Winning Well.
  5. Embrace a bold commitment to listen to ideas that come from anywhere. Be willing to not know.
  6. Maintain openness when you think you know. “What don’t we know?”
  7. Respect individuals regardless of position. Snobbery eliminates constructive dissent and turns everyone into butt kissers and brown nosers.
  8. Enjoy diversity.
  9. Engage people early in the process where dissent isn’t life or death.
  10. Praise and reward constructive dissent.

Bonus: Keep asking, “What do you think?”

Note: This post isn’t written in praise of nasty contrarians who disagree for the fun of it.

How might leaders invite and navigate constructive dissent?