A team, working on its mission to reduce the cycle time for their lengthy vendor assessment process, gathered data on several options. Eventually, most team members began to coalesce around the option of deleting two specific steps in the cycle.
Jaron was not convinced and said, “Removing the two steps creates additional risks and doesn’t save much time.”
Most members argued aggressively against Jaron’s position, but Jaron did not back down.
“What do you propose?” the leader eventually asked.
Jaron described a different model for assessing vendors and supported his suggestions with data. Only one member nodded agreeably. Most remained opposed.
The meeting ended with no resolution. However, at the next meeting Jaron again presented his model supported by additional data; and after a lengthy and enthusiastic debate, the team reluctantly agreed to evaluate Jaron’s idea.
Jaron’s model proved effective in three test cycles and management adopted the new way. Later Jaron reflected, “I respect my peers and wanted their approval. I was extremely uncomfortable taking a stand against them, but I just could not agree with a solution that I thought was inadequate.”
It takes courage to preserve in the face of strong opposition from your associates and it is an essential leadership attribute.