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Should We Just Agree to Disagree?

A wise man, while defending his position in a disagreement with the company’s CEO, once said, “If no one is comfortable disagreeing, there’s a pretty good chance that decision is wrong.  If we’re willing to object and disagree until we can all reach alignment, our odds of being right go up dramatically.”  That wise man was, well, me.

OK fine… maybe I’m not all that wise (just ask my wife), but I am a big fan of decisions based on data.  Don’t get me wrong, intuition and experience are essential — arguably, critical! However, without good, reliable, timely data, we’re doomed to hoping and guessing.

In order to utilize data, we first need to dig into what information would be useful in decision-making. That’s why it’s important to encourage a culture of respectful disagreement. That doesn’t mean someone needs to object to everything, just because they can; it does mean that when someone feels there is a different perspective that needs to be explored, they should feel comfortable voicing it.

So many managers profess to “not being micro-managers,” but instead micro-manage by not providing an environment where disagreements are welcome.  Those same managers seldom take responsibility when a plan goes bad.

Take it a step further and ask for an opposing view or perspective. Have someone play the role of Devil’s Advocate once in a while. If no one can, you’re likely heading in the right direction. Better yet, if someone comes up with an alternative, discuss it and make your decision with the opposing view in mind.

But, in all cases, unless you’re trying to decide on where to have lunch, make sure you’re leveraging all the data available to you (even picking a restaurant will be better if you reference the menu, hours and maybe even current traffic conditions).

If you don’t feel you have the COMPREHENSIVE, RELIABLE, and TIMELY data you need to make good decisions — talk to me.  If you don’t know what data you’re missing – talk to me.  Your Business Management Software should be providing you all that data in real-time.  If it’s not, you need to address it – now (and I’d love to hear the opposing view on that).

Years ago, Business Management Software (previously called ERP) was expensive and difficult to implement – not anymore.  Remember how difficult it used to be to program a VCR, activate a new cell phone, edit a video?  Times have changed.

We help natural product suppliers and distributors from startups to very mature, large businesses. Visit www.CornerstoneForNatural.com to see what you’re missing.

by David Williams | www.LinkedIn.com/in/RetailDave | (813) 321-1300