Why Great Leaders Don't Take Yes for an Answer: Managing for Conflict and Consensus, 2nd edition

Published by FT Press (September 25, 2015) © 2013

  • Michael A. Roberto

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Make better decisions, achieve deeper consensus, get past groupthink and "yes men," and achieve superior results! Michael A. Roberto's Why Great Leaders Don't Take Yes for an Answer, Second Edition offers a powerful framework every leader can use to promote honest, constructive dissent and skepticism; test their assumptions; more thoroughly consider "best alternatives"; make better choices, and align organizations to act on their decisions. In this new edition, Roberto presents new cases from Google, Ford, Intuit and others, plus expands coverage to more deeply illuminate his decision-making approach. Offering both positive and negative examples, he presents a well rounded view of how to determine when 'yes' means 'yes', when it doesn't, and what to do when it doesn't. Roberto explains why "good process entails the astute management of the social, political and emotional aspects of decision making" -- in other words, why effective leaders are well served by carefully "deciding how to decide." Learn how to:

  • Get the truth and candor you need to make complex, high-stakes decisions
  • Test and probe what your team really believes
  • Encourage constructive objections -- and keep them constructive
  • Fairly evaluate all promising alternatives, and then crisply reach closure
  • Improve team management, mitigate risk, identify opportunities, and promote integrity
  • Build stronger commitment amongst the people who'll implement your decisions

The breakthrough framework for making better high-stakes decisions: now expanded and updated with new research, insights, and cases.

  • By Michael A. Roberto, one of the world's leading experts in high-stakes decision-making (formerly of Harvard Business School, now at Bryant University)
  • Overcome groupthink, encourage honest and constructive disagreement, test your assumptions, objectively review all your best options, and gain a deeper consensus for action
  • Expanded coverage includes even more practical guidance, and both new and updated case studies

Chapter 1: The Leadership Challenge     1

Chapter 2: Deciding How to Decide     39

Chapter 3: An Absence of Candor     75

Chapter 4: Stimulating the Clash of Ideas     109

Chapter 5: Keeping Conflict Constructive     143

Chapter 6: A Better Devil’s Advocate     179

Chapter 7: The Dynamics of Indecision     203

Chapter 8: Fair and Legitimate Process     233

Chapter 9: Reaching Closure     271

Chapter 10: Leading with Restraint     301

Michael Roberto is the Trustee Professor of Management at Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island. He has served on the faculty at Harvard Business School and as a visiting professor at NYU’s Stern School of Business. Over the past decade, Professor Roberto has held a position on the faculty of the Nomura School of Advanced Management in Tokyo, where he teaches an executive program each summer.

Professor Roberto’s previous book, Know What You Don’t Know (Pearson/Financial Times, 2009) addresses how leaders can become more effective problem finders. He has created two best-selling audio and video lecture series for The Great Courses ( The Art of Critical Decision Making , 2009, and Transformational Leadership , 2011). His articles have appeared in publications such as Harvard Business Review , MIT Sloan Management Review , and California Management Review.

Professor Roberto’s research and teaching have earned several major awards. The Everest Leadership and Team Simulation earned an MITX Interactive Award for Best E-Learning Solution in 2011. Columbia’s Final Mission , a multimedia case study about the 2003 space shuttle accident, garnered the software industry’s prestigious Codie Award in 2006. On the teaching front, Professor Roberto is a seven-time winner of the Outstanding MBA Teaching Award at Bryant University. He has been awarded Harvard’s Allyn Young Prize for Teaching in Economics on two occasions. Professor Roberto received an AB with honors from Harvard College, an MBA with High Distinction from Harvard Business School, and a doctorate from the Harvard Business School.

Professor Roberto lives in Massachusetts with his wife, Kristin, and his three children, Luke, Celia, and Grace.

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