Tuesday, January 19, 2010

i-TFTD #243: On Discussing Effectively

#243-1. Nothing lowers the level of conversation more than raising the voice.
-Stanley Horowitz

#243-2. The aim of an argument or discussion should not be victory, but progress.
-Joseph Joubert

#243-3. In a controversy the instant we feel anger we have already ceased striving for the truth, and have begun striving for ourselves.

Healthy debate based on principles, values, facts and logic is like oxygen for any society, including an organization. Too many people avoid arguments, and managers prevent them. One research study conducted on poorly performing teams found that there was a lot of argument amongst members of the team. They were surprised when they found that the successful, high-performing teams also had the same characteristic! I am sure the quality of debate in the two cases would have been different—quality in terms of content, issues being debated, tone and also how members behaved after the debate.

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