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John Adair's 100 Greatest Ideas for Smart Decision Making by John Adair

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Idea 34: Why consultation matters

It is rare for one person to see or understand all the feasible options in a given situation. That is why what the Romans called consilium, consultation, is so necessary before important decisions are taken.

Case Study: Alfred Sloan

Alfred P. Sloan, a former head of General Motors, once said at a meeting of one of his top committees: ‘Gentlemen, I take it we are all in complete agreement on the decision here?’

Everyone around the table nodded assent.

‘Then,’ continued Sloan, ‘I propose we postpone further discussion of this matter until our next meeting to give ourselves time to develop disagreement and perhaps gain some understanding of what the decision is all about.’

Thorough discussion may throw up options ...

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