July 28, 2013  /  Debbie Bing

Forbes: 30 Outdated Leadership Practices Holding Your Company Back

This list is helpful – and it’s a lot! I think one of the most important ideas here is the shift form discouraging independent thinking because it feels threatening or destabilizing to embracing dissenting opinions. Differences in organizations can be a source of conflict and disruption, and leaders often worry that having direct conversations about them will damage relationships or unleash a set of dynamics that will be difficult to control. The result is an inability to act on a pressing business issue. But as you point out, the very differences that can damage a business can also add exceptional value and create productive partnerships. My firm CFAR helps leaders leverage the positive energy of differences to resolve conflict, improve teamwork, access the best thinking available across multiple points of view, and take action that achieves sustainable business results. We could all take a lesson from Alfred Sloan (the former CEO of GM), whom I often quote on this point: “If we are all in agreement on the decision – then I propose we postpone further discussion on this matter until our next meeting to give ourselves time to develop disagreement and perhaps gain some understanding of what the decision is all about” – Alfred P. Sloan
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