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The Abilene Paradox The Management of Agreement

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The Abilene Paradox
The Management of Agreement
Parag Harolikar

Published in: Business, Spiritual
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The Abilene Paradox The Management of Agreement

  1. 1. THE MANAGEMENT OF AGREEMENT Parag Harolikar
  2. 2.  Introduction  Feature Presentation  Abilene Paradox Parameters  Conclusions 2© SRM Consultech PROPRIETARY
  3. 3.  Oxford dictionary: A paradox is a statement that seems self-contradictory, but is, in fact, true! © SRM Consultech PROPRIETARY 3
  4. 4. MISMANAGED AGREEMENT  Failure to do what is needed to ensure people are in agreement for the right reasons. © SRM Consultech PROPRIETARY 4
  5. 5. Source: www.socialpsychology.org 5© SRM Consultech PROPRIETARY
  6. 6. The Abilene Paradox Demystified  Tendency of a group to embark on an activity that no group member wants  Actions that contradict the true desires  Defeat the very purpose one is trying to achieve  Compound the problem rather than solving it  Organizational dysfunction via agreement, not conflict 6© SRM Consultech PROPRIETARY
  7. 7. FEATURE PRESENTATION
  8. 8. Symptoms Of The Abilene Paradox  Individual & private agreement about the nature of the situation facing the org  Individual & private agreement about how to ‘cope’ with the situation  Failure to accurately communicate true desires 8© SRM Consultech PROPRIETARY
  9. 9. Symptoms Of The Abilene Paradox  Collective decisions that are contrary to what they really want to do  Frustration, irritation and dissatisfaction with the org  Cycle continues until broken 9© SRM Consultech PROPRIETARY
  10. 10. Reasons For The Abilene Paradox  Action Anxiety  Negative Fantasies  Real Risk  Fear Of Separation  Reversal of Risk & Certainty 10© SRM Consultech PROPRIETARY
  11. 11. Critical Observations  Ideas come from any source  Admitting mistakes © SRM Consultech PROPRIETARY 11
  12. 12. © SRM Consultech PROPRIETARY 12 Source: Unknown
  13. 13. How To Bypass Abilene  Understand, and be ever aware of the Abilene Paradox  Express one’s true beliefs clearly and honestly  Be realistic vis-à-vis action anxiety, negative fantasies, real risks, separation anxiety  Remember the paradox within the paradox 13© SRM Consultech PROPRIETARY
  14. 14. Clear & Honest Communication  Mitigated speech: Attempt to downplay or sugarcoat the real meaning  Transmitter orientation: It is the speaker’s responsibility to communicate unambiguously  Receiver orientation: The listener has to make sense of what is being said © SRM Consultech PROPRIETARY 14 Source: “Outliers: The Story of Success”, Gladwell Malcolm, pp 194-195
  15. 15. The Situation  Weather radar shows an area of heavy precipitation 25 miles ahead  Pilot is maintaining present course  Thunderstorms are reported in the area and you encounter mild turbulence  You have to ensure that the aircraft will not penetrate this area © SRM Consultech PROPRIETARY 15 Source: “Outliers: The Story of Success”, Gladwell Malcolm, pp 194-195
  16. 16. 1. Command  Turn thirty degrees right. © SRM Consultech PROPRIETARY 16 Source: “Outliers: The Story of Success”, Gladwell Malcolm, pp 194-195
  17. 17. 2. Crew Obligation Statement  I think we need to deviate right about now. © SRM Consultech PROPRIETARY 17 Source: “Outliers: The Story of Success”, Gladwell Malcolm, pp 194-195
  18. 18. 3. Crew Suggestion  Lets go around the weather. © SRM Consultech PROPRIETARY 18 Source: “Outliers: The Story of Success”, Gladwell Malcolm, pp 194-195
  19. 19. 4. Query  Which direction would you like to deviate? © SRM Consultech PROPRIETARY 19 Source: “Outliers: The Story of Success”, Gladwell Malcolm, pp 194-195
  20. 20. 5. Preference  I think it would be wise to turn left or right. © SRM Consultech PROPRIETARY 20 Source: “Outliers: The Story of Success”, Gladwell Malcolm, pp 194-195
  21. 21. 6. Hint  The return at 25 miles looks mean. © SRM Consultech PROPRIETARY 21 Source: “Outliers: The Story of Success”, Gladwell Malcolm, pp 194-195
  22. 22. Conclusion  “Unanimous Agreement” = be on your guard!  Pay attention to the reputable nay-sayer  Executive sponsors – be careful not to get emotionally attached to your products or ideas  Allow your organization members to experiment and make mistakes  Admit your mistakes and forgive those of others © SRM Consultech PROPRIETARY 22
  23. 23. PAH 23© SRM Consultech PROPRIETARY

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