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Why Great Leaders Don't Take Yes for an Answer : Managing for Conflict and Consensus
Executives hear "yes" far too often. Their status and power inhibits candid dialogue. They don't hear bad news until it's too late. They get groupthink, not reality. They think they've achieved consensus, then find their decisions undermined or derailed by colleagues who never really bought in. They become increasingly isolated; even high-risk or illegal actions can begin to go unquestioned.
Inevitable? Absolutely not. In this book, Harvard Business School Professor Michael Roberto shows you how to promote honest, constructive dissent and scepticism... use it to improve your decisions... and then align your entire organization to fully support the decisions you make.
Drawing on his extensive research on executive decision-making, Roberto shows how to test and probe the members of your management team... discover when "yes" means "yes" and when it doesn't... and build real, deep consensus that leads to action. Along the way, Roberto offers important new insights into managing teams, mitigating risk, promoting corporate ethics through effective governance, and much more. Your organization and your executive team have immense untapped wisdom: this book will help you tap that wisdom to the fullest.
In this highly readable volume, Harvard Business School professor Roberto demonstrates that the key to making successful strategic business decisions lies in the decision-making process itself. Through nine refreshingly jargon-free chapters, along with helpful graphs and charts, Roberto argues that "good process entails the astute management of the social, political and emotional aspects of decision making." Persuasively employing case studies-from an analysis of the 2003 Columbia space shuttle disaster to the deadly 1996 accident atop Mount Everest to John F. Kennedy's management the Cuban Missile Crisis-Roberto enlivens his primary thesis that failed leadership often fixates "on the question 'What decision should I make?' rather than asking 'How should I go about making the decision?'" With each case study Roberto points out where the process went awry and nimbly indicates how the lessons learned can be applied to any business decision. He explains how to effectively make and implement a final decision and how to efficiently handle groupthink, "yes men" and those who offer nothing but negative criticisms. The book is aimed primarily at a business executive audience, and other readers may get lost. But managers who must lead a group through a plan of action will surely benefit from Roberto's process-centered approach.
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June 05, 2005
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