Lesson 2.2

Drumming Up Dissent, And Making It Useful

Dive into this topic by watching the video, followed by key explanations and exercises below.

Key Concepts:

  • Study after study shows that dissent makes groups smarter.

  • Juries make better decisions when people don’t initially agree. Corporate boards make fewer dumb decisions when people are willing to argue. And cognitive friction basically runs on the idea that people don’t see things the same.

  • But dissent only really helps under a certain set of conditions:

    • You have to actually be open to it.

    • You can’t have a token devil’s advocate.

    • You can’t strawman the dissenting viewpoints by making them already sound bad in the way you present them.

    • Dissent has to be depersonalized on all fronts.

  • Dissent can’t be accepted wholesale or be shut down by trump cards, like years of experience or identity. Points need to be able to stand on their own.

  • Dissent is easiest to swallow when it’s invited.

Practice This:

  • Pretend you’re working on something important, and you want to make it better. Who can you think of that you could consult in the following categories?

  • Someone who you rarely see eye to eye with.

  • Someone who’s been a harsh critic of yours (or of your work).

  • Someone who you can trust to be direct with you.

  • Now keep them all in mind for next time you need cognitive diversity!