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Edgar Schein Quote

This perspective of overvaluing telling is like many of the systems that exist in organisations today. Systems devised for the industrial age. Ways of working that privilege the view of those more senior. For example, the leadership meeting where the big decisions are made. Decisions made behind closed doors by those at the top of the organisation and later executed by those more junior.

The challenge in an environment of accelerated change is valuable real-time insight and expertise resides outside of these industrial decision-making systems. To compound the issue, when senior leaders meet with a team, they will often dominate the conversation, and those more junior are less likely to speak up. When you track the communication patterns, leaders will often focus the discussion on confirming their perspective and on execution.

When facing critical decisions, how can you bring the experts and those with more divergent views into the process? Taking more time to listen openly to those with real-time insight. Leaders are taking on the role of facilitating a dialogue which balances equally talking and listening to other perspectives — being the gatekeeper of accessing a diversity in thinking styles, experience and backgrounds relevant to the task.

Meetings that ensure contributions are concise, which allows everyone to provide input and where the loudest voices in the room are not confused with the right solution. Where leaders are more intentional about looking for their biases in the decision-making process and open to be different views that challenge their perspective.

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