Constructive Controversy

Involving other people – who inevitably have different perspectives and views – will help you to ensure that you have considered all options or alternatives available before you arrive at one solution. It forces us to consider the options, and make sure that you make decisions for the best reasons and for the best interest of the business.

The best ways is to learn from other peoples mistakes and experiences?

Constructive Controversy is a powerful technique for doing this. Its objective is test a proposed solution by subjecting it to the "clash of ideas", showing it to be wrong, proving it, or improving it. As such, by using Constructive Controversy, your confidence in the solution chosen improves as you reach a better understanding of all the factors involved.What is Constructive Controversy?

This problem-solving approach was introduced by David Johnson and Roger Johnson in 1979. It has been researched and validated, and it's recognized as a leading model for developing robust and creative solutions to problems. The technique draws on five key assumptions on constructive controversy:

We adopt an initial perspective towards a problem based on our personal experiences and perceptions.

The process of persuading others to agree with us strengthens our belief that we are right.When confronted with competing viewpoints, we begin to doubt our rationale.

The more times you go through the cycle, the closer you come to the "truth" or the "right" solution and taking into account the constructive controversy.

Using Constructive Controversy tends to produce better solutions, compared with solving problems using consensus, debate, or individual effort. This happens because the Constructive Controversy process forces you to face your assumptions and avoid drawing conclusions too quickly. At the same time, it pushes you to use clear reasoning to defend or argue against a position, and it helps to protect you from logical fallacies and blind spots, because you're forced to explain and defend your rationale. Your aim of creating constructive controversy

Constructive Controversy is not about simply arguing and creating conflict for its own sake, no. It follows a formal procedure to manage controversy in a positive way:

Step 1: Brainstorm possible solutions to the problem.

Click here for tips on how to do this most effectively.

Step 2: Form advocacy teams that focus on constructive criticism.

Each team is given an alternative, researches it, and presents a best-case scenario supporting why that alternative should be chosen.

Step 3: Engage in Constructive Controversy.

Use the following steps:

Each team presents its case to the wider group involved in constructive controversy. The objective is to help the group understand the particular choice, and convince people of its validity.

The emphasis is on logic and critical thinking. Remind the teams that the overall objective is to gain a better understanding of all options in order to make the best decision possible. Encourage them to ask for solid data, and push the team to defend its conclusions.

NOTE: You can repeat this step so that everyone has an opportunity to argue for each alternative available in the decision to be made that involves constructive controversy . If time is limited, however, you may want to narrow the choices down to two possible options before you start this step, so that there are only two advocacy teams.

Step 4: Decide.

Now's the time to drop the advocacy roles, and bring the group together to make a final decision. Take the time to explore what people have learned from the constructive controversy process, and then bring together ideas to create a final proposal.

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