A lot is written today on team building, shared vision and other such warm, fuzzy management goals. Yet the executive who excels at encouraging disagreement will make better decisions than the one who focuses on building consensus. Management expert Peter Drucker gives three main reasons for "organizing" disagreement among staff members.
First, it safeguards the executive from becoming a prisoner of the organization. "The only way to break out of the prison of special pleading and preconceived notions," says Drucker, "is to make sure of argued, documented, thought-through disagreements."
It provides alternatives to a decision. "If one has thought through alternatives during the decision-making process, one has something to fall back on."
It stimulates the imagination. Imagination must be challenged or it remains latent and unused. Disagreement is the most effective stimulus we know. "Unless we turn the tap, imagination will not flow. The tap is argued, disciplined disagreement." (Note- disciplined, not rude.)
These ideas are especially pertinent to marketing management. Be sure to organize disagreement among your staff at your next marketing meeting. Considering all the options is the safest way to arrive at a course of action that will succeed.
Quotes are from The Effective Executive by Peter F. Drucker. Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc. 1967.