The advocacy method clouds objectivity; a plan's weaknesses are downplayed to boost chances of winning.
Making decisions is hard. Making decisions as a group is really hard. So it helps to have a viable decision-making process, especially when the results of your deliberations have an impact on the bottom line – and maybe on your job security. Yet many decisions are reached in ways that lead to bad outcomes, say David A. Garvin and Michael A. Roberto of Harvard Business School. The two are contributors to a new book, Harvard Business Review on Making Smart Decisions (Harvard Business Review Press/available now). They identify two methods of decision-making, advocacy and inquiry, and favor the latter as the more productive course. Advocacy-based decisions are built on personal prejudices, while decisions based upon inquiry are supported by objective fact-finding and creative collaboration. Advocacy involves ego and sets up win-lose outcomes; inquiry allows arguments to be hashed out in ways that, if properly managed, often lead to sounder strategies and better results. For more about the book, click .
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