Disagreement-the key to good decision making?

I caught up on BBC Question Time this morning as my youngest (so far) grandchild napped on my shoulder. There was much talk of Brexit, the Chilcot report and the position the Labour Party finds itself in & a really interesting point was made about how Tony Blair ran his Cabinet & government. The Chilcot report showed that many decisions, not just the one to go to war, were made in individual meetings rather than full group cabinets. I can only guess why Tony Blair liked to do things this way but I would presume it was because it’s far easier to persuade people to your point of view if you’re speaking one on one.

As human beings we are more likely to stick with our views if we have people who agree with us in the group, it makes us feel stronger & more able to argue back with things we disagree with. That’s human nature. It’s also, when done correctly, a great way to make sure you make good decisions.

We all like to surround ourselves with people who think the same way as we do, who have the same values and beliefs. Frankly it makes us feel good. It also makes us feel right. And that’s the problem. We live in a world of varying shades of grey where there is rarely an absolute right or wrong answer. A world of nuances and shades. If we surround ourselves completely with people who think the same way as us, with roughly the same experiences as us we risk losing the ability to really see the world as it is. Some might say the political elite in London have done just this & are now in such crisis because of it.

The Brexit referendum was certainly an interesting time for me on Social Media. As I explained in a previous blog  I had decided, after much thought, to vote to leave the EU.  Many of my Facebook friends voted to remain & I respect that. I also appreciate what their different opinion brings to my decision making. I am still very comfortable with the way I voted because I know I saw lots of the arguments against that vote & thought them through. They may not have persuaded me to vote remain but they did get me to question my leave vote & I’m pleased they did.

If we stop listening to each other, if we stop discussing the things we disagree about, if we make really important decisions without taking all views into account then I believe we’ll make bad decisions. Ones we haven’t thought through & challenged. So let’s embrace the nuances of human value systems & discuss the things that we disagree about with respect for those who disagree with us. The world will be a better place for it I’m sure.