How Consensus Kills Innovation

Posted on Categories Conscious Leadership, Culture/Employee Engagement, Innovation, Purpose, Strategy

You know the feeling: You’ve just left a meeting in which everyone has discussed a pressing issue, considered the pros and cons, and arrived at a plan for moving forward that everyone can agree with.

You feel accomplished. You feel like your team is in harmony. You’ve achieved consensus. Hooray!

Except you might want to hold off on your celebration. As advertising sage David Ogilvy once said, “Search all the parks in all your cities. You’ll find no statues of committees.” Mr. Ogilvy, of course, was emphasizing the importance of the individual in moving unique ideas forward — and slyly denigrating decision-by-committee.

In most organizations, consensus decision making is the default. Unfortunately, a lot of evidence, both scientific and anecdotal, is beginning to ask whether consensus is as valuable as once assumed. To go further, is consensus the quickest way to kill innovation? I’ve put together three thought starters around why we value consensus, and how (and why) to kill consensus before it murders innovation.

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Jackie DrydenWith a passion for helping others discover “why” and “what for,” Jackie Dryden leads companies to uncover and align with their purpose. But don’t be fooled. Her purpose development strategy packs a punch and will shake the core of your foundation. Serving as the Chief Purpose Architect at Savage, Jackie thrives on creating design and communications strategy to support corporate purpose. She is co-author of "Get Your Head Out of Your Bottom Line and Build Your Brand on Purpose" available at http://savagethinking.com.

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If you’re interested in knowing more about how purposeful companies attract the best employees, build loyal relationships with customers, and differentiate themselves from the competition, then let’s start a conversation.