Baseball legend Satchel Paige once said that “None of us is as smart as all of us.” As a management consultant I’ve learned that there’s a big difference between widespread consensus and the appearance of widespread consensus. Inexperienced or conflict-averse leaders (the latter is an oxymoron) stop short of doing the legwork to engage and educate their constituents. Instead they try instilling the often-false belief that “everyone else is onboard, and you should be too.”
It’s surprising how many people actually cede to the tyranny of consensus. They rationalize their decisions in unexpected ways, blaming corporate politics, industry best practices, the lack of decision rights in their organizations, or quirky corporate cultures. They cave. Psychologists call people like this “cognitive misers.” They place the shortcuts of established thinking and entrenched behaviors over deliberate analysis.
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