Good decisions arise from constructive conflict. Here’s how to use debate to build a sound decision-making structure. Excerpted from Why Great Leaders Don't Take Yes for an Answer.
This sounds like a book to pursue. I particularly like this paragraph on page 4 of the excerpt. Roberto has just gone through listing common factors that inhibit consensus and then say:
All the factors described previously certainly make it difficult to manage conflict and consensus effectively. The core contention of this book, however, is that many leaders fail to make and implement decisions successfully for a more fundamental reason—that is, they tend to focus first and foremost on finding the "right" solution when a problem arises, rather than stepping back to determine the "right" process that should be employed to make the decision. They fixate on the question, "What decision should I make?" rather than asking "How should I go about making the decision?" Answering this "how" question correctly often has a profound impact on a leader's decision-making effectiveness. It enables leaders to create the conditions and mechanisms that will lead to healthy debate and dissent as well as a comprehensive and enduring consensus.
This is very much in line with what my former colleague, Kevin Howe, discusses in Quality Decision Making for Empowered Cultures. Organizations need to set up the right structure around both how to make decisions, as this paragraph argues. Kevin's article describes modes of decision making, where the decision-making authority explicitly states whether she is going to make the decision, approve the decision, or totally delegate the process. Having that understanding up-front goes a long way toward helping the decision process along. There is less wrangling around who is responsible for what.