Say "No" to "Yes-men"
I think that it's now fairly common knowldge that if you don't agree with your direct boss in the Cabinet or White House then you don't have a job. To that end I think that someone there only read half the book. They read the part that said once the executive makes the decision then everyone in the organization should rally round the decision.... what they missed was hot those decisions are made. I've put together some key elements from the About.com article in the following:
"We all get complacent sometimes. We have comfort zones. We do the things we enjoy, that feel good, that come easily. That's why many people surround themselves with people who agree with them, think like them, and support them. The CEO of a large company does not have that luxury.
In return for the outlandish compensation being heaped on them by the shareholders, the CEO must immerse himself or herself in the uncomfortable, the unfamiliar, the different opinion. Only in that way can they keep the company strong and growing. Only then can they earn what they are being paid. Only then can they, and their shareholders, avoid a debacle like Enron.
It starts at the top
It is the leader's job to provide the vision for the group. A good executive must have a dream and the ability to get the company to support that dream. But it is not enough to merely have the dream. The leader must also provide the framework by which the people in the organization can help achieve the dream. This is called company culture.
When your company culture allows people to challenge ideas, suggestions, and plans, you create an organization of thinking, committed people capable of producing the kind of innovation and productivity required to succeed today. However, if your company culture does not allowed dissent, if people who suggest alternatives are castigated for not being "team players", you produce an environment of fear, stagnation, and antipathy. Not allowing appropriate dissent will kill your company.
Discuss and debate - up to a point
You're smart manager. You encourage your people to challenge you and suggest alternatives. But are you a good subordinate? Do you challenge your boss? Or do you sit back and protect your job by agreeing with everything the boss suggests? Such agreeing won't protect your job, as Enron's employees have learned.
Every manager has a boss. It is our responsibility to our bosses to be honest with them, to tell them what we really think, even if we disagree. Especially if we disagree. You, and everyone of your peers, need to discuss issues openly, frankly, and with the best interests of your area clearly visible. You need to give the boss as much information and as many options as possible. Don't be afraid to fight hard for what you believe to be right. Be professional about it, but be candid too.
However, once the boss has made a decision, the discussion and arguing and dissent must stop. Once the decision has been made you have an obligation to support your boss in that decision. You expect it of your people; you should do no less.
Disagree without being disagreeable
You think your position is right. You want what is best for your people. You want things done in the way that works best for your department. So you argue your points strongly. That's good, but don't overdo it. You won't win every battle. After all, your boss is looking after the best interest of his or her entire organization, not just your part of it. Recognize the aspects of negotiation involved. Remember you will be working with these people again in the future. For those reasons it's important that you "disagree without being disagreeable".
Manage This Issue
Foster a culture in your company where differing opinions are encouraged. Avoid the temptation to surround yourself with individuals who are so similar to you that they can't offer a different perspective. Don't surround yourself with people who are so afraid that they won't dissent. Reward creativity and original thought in your decision-making process. Hang on to those people who have mastered the art of disagreeing without being disagreeable. Maybe then you can avoid being blindsided by events such as Enron has encountered.
In case you missed it: Foster a culture in your company where differing opinions are encouraged. Avoid the temptation to surround yourself with individuals who are so similar to you that they can't offer a different perspective. Don't surround yourself with people who are so afraid that they won't dissent. Reward creativity and original thought in your decision-making process. Hang on to those people who have mastered the art of disagreeing without being disagreeable.