Collaboration in dissent

Bruce MacEwen writes What P&G Teaches and talks about how A.G. Lafley, the CEO of Proctor & Gamble, operates his ship.  He talks about collaboration - collaboration where people challenge one another on the validity of their ideas and plans. 

Lafley pointedly insists on dissent, indeed makes it a formal requirement of decision-making:

"Before he makes a decision or sets a new strategy, "he always asks managers to give him two different approaches and present the pros and cons of each,...  And at meetings, A.G. says, 'Before you jump in and inject your own point of view, make sure you listen and truly understand the other's point of view.'"

I am seeing more and more the value of stepping back from my grand ideas and asking simple questions, like "why won't this work?"  The ideas are merely ideas - I need to be willing to pull my ego out of them and listen to alternatives.  They come about from conversations, analysis, preferences, experience.  But if I am to take action, hadn't we better stand back and make sure that it's the right action?  And isn't this the highest form of co-laboring?

1 Comment(s)

Tom Godfrey said:

Jack -

Excellent point. In the past, I've attempted to get through "The Contrarian Manager" by Richard Jenrette, but the first couple of chapters sum up what you have said in just a couple of paragraphs - always question, always review, always consider another alternative and look at the pros and cons of each.


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