“Alright, let’s take a vote,” Ralph directed. I was sitting in the back of the room. I watched the hands go up in favor of Ralph’s plan. There was no dissent. Meeting adjourned.
Ralph was proud, no opposition, he picked up his stuff and strutted out of the room. And that’s when the truth came out. It started as a whisper, a snide remark, and then the piling on began. As it turned out, no one was in favor of Ralph’s plan.
“What do you mean?” Ralph said as I settled into his office.
“I don’t think your plan has a chance for success,” I replied. “As you left the room, I got to thinking, wondering if your plan had covered all the bases, in fact, if it was even the right decision.”
“But, everyone voted,” Ralph protested.
I nodded. “Do you think voting is the best way to make a decision?”
“Hey, it’s how we elect a president?”
I smiled and repeated, “Do you think voting is the best way to make a decision?”
“Well, do you have a better way?” Ralph challenged.
“I was just looking at your four alternatives. You know, there were two things that were absolute deal killers and the one you picked doesn’t meet the criteria.”
“What do you mean?”
“Think about it this way, Ralph. Put up a big chart on the wall and make a quick list of all the things that absolutely, positively have to be a part of the solution. Deal killers. Then make a list of all the things that are not absolute, but would be really nice to have. Now you have two lists, absolutes and desirables.
“Take your four alternatives and put them up against the criteria and see how things shake out.”
Ralph didn’t say a word. His eyes got wide. I could see him mentally checking his quick list. “I think I need to bring the team back in the room. I think they voted for a mistake.”