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The Biggest Reason Consensus Management Does Not Work

I’m often asked at the beginning of an EOS Implementation Process how a decision is made if everyone isn’t in agreement. Here is the answer: It’s the Integrator’s responsibility to make the decision for the greater good of the company.

The ultimate role of the Integrator is to run the business and execute on the vision that was agreed upon by the leadership team. This individual has been tasked with making the final call if there is indecision or disharmony amongst the squad.

In my experience as an EOS Implementer, there are three main reasons why leading by consensus is unprofitable:

  1. Slows down business operations – It takes too long for a solution to be reached.
  2. People will be unhappy – There will be a group of individuals who strongly disagree with the consensus, which has the potential to divide teams and cause a major conflict within the organization.
  3. It does not benefit the greater good of the company – In the long-term, leading by consensus will prove to be detrimental for employee morale, and management.

When leadership teams wait for consensus before taking action, they usually end up with a decisions that are made too late, and are mildly disagreeable to everyone. This is a recipe for mediocrity and frustration. – Patrick Lencioni

Lencioni’s quote supports the fact that operating a business by consensus is neither useful nor time-effective. It is only at the point of resolution that the company can move forward.

Many young leaders – particularly those earlier in their careers – have the tendency to want their colleagues to like them. In a sense, they become “people pleasers.” These young authority figures want their teams to feel like they contribute to the success of the organization. As a result, they are more inclined to lead by consensus.

Consensus management and profitability can be compared to oil and water – they just don’t mix. The Integrator should allow his/her team to voice their opinions and thoughts, so everyone feels they have equal input in the outcome – and then come to a conclusion based on what’s best for the organization.

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