Lesson 2.2

Drumming Up Dissent, And Making It Useful

Dive in by watching the video, followed by key explanations and practice below.


Key Concepts:


Study after study shows that dissent makes groups smarter.

  • Juries make better decisions when jurors don’t initially agree.

  • Corporate boards make fewer dumb decisions when members are willing to argue.

  • Cognitive friction runs on the idea that people get smarter when they don’t see things the same way.

Dissent only really helps under a certain set of conditions:

  • You have to actually be open to hearing it.

  • You can’t make dissent a token, a devil’s advocate that you’re not going to take seriously.

  • You can’t Strawman the dissenting viewpoints by making them already sound bad in the way you present them.

  • Dissent has to be depersonalized on all fronts. It’s not about you if someone disagrees; it’s all about ideas.

  • Dissent is easiest to handle productively when it’s invited.

  • Dissenting ideas can’t be accepted wholesale or be shut down by trump cards. Points need to be able to stand on their own. (E.g. “I disagree, and I have 30 years of experience, so I’m right.” doesn’t cut it.)


Let’s Practice: