False Averages and Consensus

Photo credit: Curtis Gregory Perry via Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-SA
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I know, I know – if you wanted to read Seth Godin all the time, you’d just visit his blog.

I can’t think of many writers who I turn to every single day for inspiration, new perspectives, or to refresh my commitment than Seth.

His post today was on point, as always:

Yes, there are true averages (like how high to mount a doorknob). But more often than not, trying to please everyone a little is a great way to please most people not at all.

And it’s true! I worked with someone once who always talked about consensus within the organization. Like averages, a consensus isn’t always a bad thing. But a consensus can be downright fatal as well! In the same way that using a middle-ground product or service to please two groups of people with opposite preferences leaves none satisfied, forcing a consensus between two groups of people with opposing viewpoints can produce an action plan that nobody cares to undertake. You’ll leave the meeting feeling good because perhaps you avoided conflict or appeased the centrist minority, but guess what – your project is dead on arrival.

Sometimes you need to accept that your one group might need to pursue more than one course of action, or perhaps the group simply needs to split into two.

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