Views from the Hills by R. E. Stevens, GENESIS II (The Second Beginning) E-Mail

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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