wrong way sign | should you commit to a bad team decision?“But Jim, I completely disagree with the decision. How can you expect me to support John’s decision and commit to it when I think it’s wrong?”

“Tom”, I replied, “I’m not asking you to agree with John. I’m asking you to do the greater good—to be unified as a leadership team in all the decisions that are communicated to others. Especially the ones we don’t all agree on.”

I hadn’t quite won Tom over. Julia noticed, and jumped in.

“Tom, the leadership team is Team One, as Patrick Lencioni would say. Your first allegiance is to this team. That means living our promise to always fight for the greater good, the company.”

Tom was still missing it. “How can the greater good be me agreeing to a decision that I believe is a bad one?” he said.

Should You Commit to a Bad Decision?

In my 13+ years of working with small and mid-sized businesses, I’ve had a version of this conversation more times than I can count. It’s a tough one, because as Tom points out, it isn’t entirely logical to agree with a “bad” decision. It’s also counter to the culture of being open and honest that all great EOS® (Entrepreneurial Operating System®) companies subscribe to.

But it’s still the greater good. As we continued talking with Tom about this issue, it became clear why this is so.

Committing to the Team

“Tom,” John our integrator said softly. “I always appreciate you being open and honest with us as a team. I know you have helped all of us at one point or another make a better decision with your critical eye for detail and your keen insight. You and I don’t agree on this, and I don’t think we are ever going to. And that’s okay.”

John continued. “What we need from you is to get behind the decision and support it even though you disagree. It’s much worse for us as a team not to be of one mind and one voice than it is for us to make a bad decision.”

Tom sat with this for a bit. “That makes sense,” he said. “I’ve been heard. I just couldn’t wrap my arms around telling my team this was the best way forward for us. But now I can see that openly disagreeing with the team could, and probably would, cause more damage than this hair-brained project will.” He flashed a smile. Tom was committed.

Can You Commit to the Team?

It can be incredibly difficult to sign onto a decision that you’re convinced is the wrong one, but it’s in those moments that your commitment to your team is more important than your commitment to your opinion. What will you commit to?

Next Steps