A View on Diversity of Opinions
Have you noticed the concern of the news media and especially among those
who sit on panel discussions about the conflicting opinions among members
of our Administration in Washington? Even the Administration is concerned,
especially when the differing opinions are made known through "leaks." This
differing of opinions is looked upon as a weakness. A weakness --
why would you not view it as a strength? Anyone with any sense knows
that there are always multiple views concerning everything in life. Two
people cannot look at a single painting and agree on everything about the
painting. When two people look at a mountain, each will see and describe
the mountain differently. If true, how then do we ever think that there
is one and only one approach to the solution to any problem? If I
am ultimately responsible for the solution to a problem, the last thing
I want is a room full of "Yes People" or "Single Vision People" helping
(advising) me on a course of action. Who was it that said that if
two people have the same point of view, one is irrelevant? If you
are trying to solve a problem and you have a room full of people that share
the same points of view, there better be only one answer to the problem
and that answer better be the one that everyone in the room shares.
If I am responsible for a task, I want people around me that have differing
points of view, different experiences, differing thought processes, differing
concerns and differing approaches to solutions. It is only when all
the alternatives are on the table can we make the better choices.
If you happen to agree with my point of view, or have another, look around
at your company. How is their problem solving approached? Look
at your department, how do they approach problem solving? Look at
the group you work with, how do they approach a problem? Is it the
most effective approach or is there a better one? Are you the leader
that can effect change? Are you working to make the change?
One of my more frustrating experiences is when I see Marketing and market
Research organizations that firmly believe that there is one way and only
one way to conduct research. It has been my experience that there
are many ways where each way has its own strengths and weaknesses. In
most cases the most reliable approach has drawbacks in the financial area.
It basically costs too much. Therefore the most reliable way
is not the most viable way. We make trade-offs. It is called
investment vs. return. However, seldom do those involved in the decision
making tell their management that they are making these choices. Is
this silence based on fear, arrogance, complacency or ignorance? Or
is it that all the right decisions are being made?
If you are making all the right decisions, please share your methods with
us poor slobs who are still struggling.
If we complain that management is tying our hands, I would offer the perspective
that management does not intentionally try to do the wrong thing. Maybe
we have not adequately communicated the risks we have to take. Risk
taking should be a shared responsibility.
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