Taking a Risk on Dissent: How to Disagree and Commit

How to Turn Referrals into New Clients

Jeff Bezos instilled a principle at Amazon called disagree and commit. The idea is that we can disagree with our opposition, but commit to trying their suggestion. More often than not, they don’t know if their idea will work. Just like we don’t know if our idea will work. It takes trust – a little risk – to say, “I don’t think your idea will work. But I’ll go with you.”

Perhaps now more than ever, we need to take little risks. Little risks in trust, little risks in critical thinking, and little risks in differences.

Shielding ourselves (and students, employees, leaders, peers) from uncomfortable ideas isn’t education – it is groupthink.

In healthy learning cultures, participants are encouraged to take intellectual risks. Not only do they gain the courage to challenge the views of others, but they strengthen their own critical thinking skills.

Critical thinking is important because it teaches us how to overcome obstacles we’ve never encountered, solve problems we’ve never seen, and see challenges from different perspectives. Critical thinking is a survival skill.

Silencing dissent is the enemy of critical thinking. When we shut down our opposition, we gain nothing. 

The risk of taking risks is failure, which always leads to a lesson.

This week, look for ways to take little risks.

All the best,

-Shaun


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