Things I learned in 2017 | 3. Striving for consensus isn’t always the right way to go


At the beginning of last year, amongst other things I blogged about the importance of bringing senior people along with me in decisions that affect the trajectory of the company.

I recognised that my directive, instinct-driven approach to decision-making was incompatible with the size of business we’d become and the fact that I was reliant on senior peoples’ buy-in to ensure decisions were executed against. 

So this year I consistently strove for consensus – on pretty much everything. I tried getting everyone on the management team bought-in to my thinking.

If there was pushback, I’d work to refine or completely change my recommendation in order to pacify all parties.

Even as write this I can’t believe I actually pursued this management approach for so long.

It led to a significant and problematic sense of inertia in the company and taught me a hugely valuable lesson about leadership: it isn’t about getting everyone to agree with you all of the time.

I’m working now on striking a balance between being consensual and being directive. Hearing feedback, incorporating it when it materially improves my thinking and decisions, and rejecting it when it doesn’t.

As CEO, I’m there to make decisions that not everyone is always going to 100% agree with. The trick is to make decisions and create a management culture that gets behind those decisions no matter what.

Historically my decision-making has generally been sound, so I’m resolved to trust in it more in 2018.

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Sami McCabe

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By Sami McCabe

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I'm Sami: founder & CEO of Clarity PR and occasional angel investor. I blog here about entrepreneurship, leadership, building great company cultures, angel investing, fatherhood and personal development.

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