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Management Resource Library

Those Big Organizational Debates: Some Ground Rules

Successful organizations need to have frank and serious discussions. It's important to have a robust and healthy debating process that resolves issues and enables the entity to move forward. Here's a suggested procedural framework for the members of your management team.

  • Balance Logic & Emotion. Evaluate with both your brain and your heart. Take the time to diligently review the logical pros and cons and then seek the guidance of your gut feelings and emotional response. Contemplative logic and passionate emotion are good tools. Use them both.
  • Be Aware of Your Bias. We generally are drawn (in some cases pushed) to one side of the equation. Take the time to consider your natural predisposition and be prepared to challenge it.
  • Do Not Demonize Either Side. Integrity, objectivity, and a search for truth are ideals for inspirational leaders. Reasonable people can disagree on the issues. Assume the integrity behind each option and opinion as a reflective viewpoint of what is inherently best for the organization. Virtue is not the sovereignty of either side of the debate.
  • There Will Be Unintended Consequences. Regardless of the collective decision, there will be unforeseen ramifications, pro and con. Acknowledge this as part of the decision process and the imperfect world in which we live.
  • Unite Behind the Decision. Be prepared to move forward together as a team.

The ability to productively debate serious issues is a vital part of organizational growth and development. The challenge is to harness the creative power of varied perspectives while preserving organizational focus and alignment with a motivated and unified team.