Friday, April 03, 2009


Enterprise Architecture: Sometimes consensus is an antipattern...

Imagine a method of governance which works as follows: Every citizen has a vote and every citizen has a veto (interesting that these are anagrams for each other). How much could be accomplished?

So, the answer to the question is not much,since in a population of any size there will very rarely be unanimity or even consensus. Thus, it is necessary to resort to majority rule.

What has this to do with team-based cultures? Plenty! There is some size for an organization beyond which consensus politics just can't scale effectively, so we rely on majority rule with institutionalized protection for minority interests. In the name of consensus, however, some organizations find themselves paralyzed as any management person can cast what is a virtual veto by refusing to buy in to a group consensus.

While I have never used this technique due to my higher integrity standards, I have always been curious as to playing the card of walking into a meeting, stating that I don't feel comfortable with some solution, avoid articulating why and simply walking out. Of course, this could have several outcomes ranging from simply being ignored to derailing an important project. I wonder how others live with themselves that use this tactic?

Anyway, I wonder if consensus building is a mental disorder? Why aren't decisions nowadays made based on facts and backtestable assertions? Are we afraid to do a little bit of homework? Is our attention deficit a gift or an impediment to truly realizing the strategic intent we seek?

<< Home
| | View blog reactions

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?