"The first rule in decision-making is that one does not make a decision unless there is disagreement."  Peter Drucker

That is a fascinating statement.  Think about what that means for your organization the next time you sit down with your team and share a new idea or cast a new vision.  How often have you done that and gotten only affirmation or agreement?  On those occasions what happened?  Was the venture a success?  Or a failure?

What Drucker is talking about are those situations when right out of the gate your whole team is in agreement and there is no debate or difference of opinion.  In The Effective Executive Drucker shares a story about Alfred P. Sloan, head of GM from the 20s to the 50s, in which Sloan is reputed to have postponed a decision until there was disagreement!  What would that do on your team?

Drucker’s three reasons for insisting on disagreement are very interesting:

  1. It is the only safeguard against the decision-makers becoming a prisoner of the orgainzation.
  2. Disagreement alone can provide alternatives to a decision.
  3. Disagreement is needed to stimulate the imagination.

So you’re in your next meeting and there’s immediate consensus.  Imagine the fun you’ll have when you insist on a good, old-fashioned disagreement!


Insisting on Disagreement