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I Disagree and Commit

In organisations whose main function it is to handle complexity there is maybe one ability which its members are in particular need of, i.e. it must be available to them. In English it is called “I disagree and commit”. It revolves around the fact that it is important, in decision-making committees, that different opinions are expressed. Otherwise the range of alternatives is too small, i.e. you can reckon with the repression of opinions deviating from the main viewpoint. If everyone supports their own decision alternative, however, then, in the end, not everyone can ‘win’. Nevertheless, the organisation needs unity, therefore, acceptance for the finally chosen alternative.

For this reason, managers must be able to identify with (and commit to) a possibly incorrect or negatively viewed (I disagree) decision variant in the case of a ‘defeat’. This is not so easy, because one must accept inconsistencies – internally, because one must adopt something which one has fought against – externally, because it was possibly known that one was against this and one is now seen as having caved in, or of not being assertive. Nor does it become easier to find an acceptance for a decision from one’s own people, if one was initially opposed. However, without uniting behind an alternative, an organisation cannot create the necessary coordination of its activities.