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Spur groups to debate each other

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in Leaders & Managers,Team Building

In the 1920s, Alfred Sloan ran General Motors. When he convened his management team to explore whether to open a plant abroad, they all approved the move.

Sloan replied that he wouldn’t make a decision until he heard some disagreement. He wanted the best judgments to flow from clashing viewpoints.

  • Rather than tell people what they should do, raise their awareness. Identify possibilities, options and variables to weigh. Pose questions so that you prod others to grapple with difficult decisions on their own.
  • Follow a speak-listen ratio of 20-80. By limiting your speaking to about 20% of the time, you force yourself to refrain from dishing out advice or making too many “should” statements.

— Adapted from How To Be Exceptional, John Zenger, Joseph Folkman, Robert Sherwin Jr. and Barbara Steel, McGraw-Hill.

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