Creative Leadership

Why Consensus Isn’t Such a Great Idea

One of the words you frequently hear from politicians is “consensus.” They talk a lot about seeking consensus, and getting everyone to come to the middle and agree (although they doesn’t actually do it much). Politics are politics. But when it comes to our lives and work, I’m not a big fan of consensus.

The truth is, most great ideas were rejected and criticized.  The best thinkers know they have to take risks, and push against public opinion.  In most cases, “consensus” means watered down, mushy, and ineffective.

I love to work in teams, and it’s great when we’re all on the same page, but don’t be in bondage to consensus. Fight the fights that need to be fought, not just the fights everyone else agrees should be fought.  Tackle the tough problems, and come up with innovative solutions and answers – even when other disagree.

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4 Comments

  1. Consensus DOES NOT MEAN it is RIGHT….look at some of the Consensus agreements of the past …. abortion…no more scripture in schools ….no smacking children ooops did I say that out loud …and agreed watered down and mushed is consensus and what percentage of agreement does one call consensus ? …..so prefer inovation and the brave warriors…..good post Phil

  2. In Australia, we are heading towards an election. The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, wants to reach a consensus on “climate change”. Her idea is that she is promising to create a citizens assembly (not parliament, but another group of randomly selected individuals) to reach a consensus on this issue.

    So, basically, she is too scared to come out with a promise, so she is hiding behind a whole heap of people, waiting for them to make a decision, so she dosen’t have to. Incredible.

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