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This Week’s Focus: As the UK’s EU Referendum date looms closer the volume of the rhetoric has, to borrow a phrase from Spinal Tap’s Nigel Tufnel, gone up to eleven. A few days after one side suggested that a British exit of the EU could lead to WW3, the other side compared the EU’s integration ambitions with Hitler’s plans for European domination.

In elections it’s essential that you are an advocate for your position, to argue the strengths of your case as positively – and creatively – as possible and to ignore its weaknesses. The other side will simply jump on any chink of balanced reasoning as a sign that you don’t really believe in your position.

Business discussions and decision-making should be different. The best decisions are not made when “advocates” from both sides simply argue across each other, but when what the writer David Garvin calls an “inquiry mindset” is applied.

In other words, decision-making shouldn’t be a win-lose contest, but a collective exercise in finding the best overall solution. This means that you should be open to alternatives, aware of each option’s risks and accepting of constructive criticism. Not only does this process help you find a better solution, but by engaging your team fully in the discussion you are also building commitment to its delivery.

How are you leading your team through your big decisions to turn the rhetoric down from 11 so that your people can engage in positive and constructive challenge and collectively find the best solution?

Off The Record: Flower People by Spinal Tap

Listen, it’s like a Mozart symphony

Listen, it’s something just for you and me

Listen to what the flower people say

Listen, it’s getting truer every day

© Stuart Cross 2016. All rights reserved.