Resisting Irrational Behavior

I do it, you do it, we all commit irrational behavior at times. Guy Kawasaki’s got a quick interview about the topic and why people do the things they do. It’s a quick under 10 minute read and I wholeheartedly recommend anyone that’s in an officer position (or even a grunt position) to read it and check it out. It’s not exactly WoW related, I know, but it’s people related. And what kind of game is WoW? It’s a social game.

Some great points:

  • When to respect authority and when to dissent
  • Turning around a bad reputation
  • Alternative perspectives

Here’s an excerpt:

Question: It seems there’s a fine line between anarchy and enlightenment: How do you know when you should respect authority and just do as told versus be a devil’s advocate and disagree?

Answer: Most of us, when we disagree with a group, keep quiet. Why make a fuss and ring alarm bells? And besides, maybe we’re wrong. When you speak up and go against the opinion of the group, you risk getting branded as a loner who’s not a team player. But dissent is a crucial ingredient in a successful team. When I interviewed Justice Breyer of the U.S. Supreme Court, he explained to me how dissent makes the Court’s opinion stronger.

The Supreme Court structured dissent into the process. When an opinion is assigned, the majority keeps on having to answer questions and objections from the dissenting side. The process is obviously professional, but it’s also a pain. You have to go back and forth going over points time and again. It’s easy to imagine how the process can be exhausting, and in fact former Chief Justice Rehnquist believed in having a more unified voice and basically not airing the court’s dirty laundry. But dissent brings about the best possible decision because it forces you to address all points. Imagine if every company went through a dissent process before arriving at an important decision.

What’re you waiting for? Go read the whole column!