Nov 25 2007

Arguing to win

Someone recently told me about being stuck in a group where people were arguing to win, rather than arguing for consensus. Whatever it was they were talking about didn’t get solved and a bunch of people left the meeting annoyed. I’ve not heard anyone describe the difference in debating style to me in this way before and think it perfectly captures a huge distinction in the polar approaches some people bring to a group decision making process.

On the one hand, you’re already right, don’t want to hear about what anyone else says and your only goal is to get the group to make your decision. You probably don’t hear a lot of what other people say, because you’re too busy coming up with a response to the stupid point they just made rather than listening to their reasoning.

On the other hand, you want to make the best decision possible, don’t have to be the smartest person in the room and realize that other people bring different backgrounds and experience to a discussion.

You tell me which one results in a better decision (not to mention overall experience) . . .