I used to write about Poison Phrases . Who knows – I might start again. But I felt limited by that category because what is poison in one situation is helpful in others. So I’m working with the header Synergy Sabotage – trying it on for size.
Mark works for a company that manages by consensus. Everyone needs to agree before they can move forward with a decision. In theory, anyway.
In terms of The Synergy Center, requiring unanimous consensus for everything can be too extreme and cumbersome. It over-compensates for command-and-control leadership. While it assures every voice is heard, it can be unmanageable. But this post is about something else.
At a company meeting, Mark strongly disagreed with a decision that the IT director favored. The group overrode Mark because “only one person objects.”
Not walking the talk is synergy sabotage. If your principles say you decide by consensus and then you don’t, you’ve lost a lot more than the support of the person whom you overrode. You’ve lost your compass. You’ve lost trust. People get the message that principles don’t matter when they are inconvenient.
While I don’t recommend unanimity for all decisions, I’m even more passionate about the need to say what you do and do what you say. If you find that unmanageable, don’t just throw your principles under the bus. Live them or revise them and live that.
Now Mark is actively looking for other employment.
Another option would be to address the inconsistency. To say:
- Either we decide by consensus or we don’t. If you override my objection and end the discussion, it’s clear we’re not walking our talk. We need to decide how we decide for real, and then do it.