Last Friday, I had an interesting 2-hour conversation with a friend about many topics ranging from politics, business and philosophy, to the role of dissension within an organization. I couldn’t give you a transcript of all that we discussed, but the topic of dissension has stuck in my mind, specifically as it relates to the development of healthy organizations, as well as its importance in implementing social change.
For the majority of businesses, organizations, political parties and religious institutions, dissension is often portrayed as a negative, pessimistic view. Individuals that provide a difference of opinion are seen as rogues, wave-makers, or those that go against the grain. But dissension, when given in the form of fostering and encouraging debate in order to make healthy and appropriate decisions, is paramount to success.
When I was younger, I always gave my opinion, but I wasn’t wanting to debate. I wanted to be right. I wanted my way. I thought like a child, and that way of thinking did nothing for the organization that I attempted to correct. In a lot of ways, that is what dissension in our modern world looks like. Take 24-hour news channels for example. The cornerstone anchor shows always have an opinion, whether true or not, and they are always right. Their guests either serve to further the anchor’s viewpoint, making them look intelligent and even god-like, or simply providing a weak opposite opinion so that they can be bashed by the intellect of the anchor and associated sycophants.
Now that I am older, a little wiser, due to experience and actually talking with others that have a differing viewpoint than my own, I realize that true dissension is giving my observations and opinion strongly and with respect to others. I no longer need to be right, or even wrong, I just need to be heard. More than that, I need to listen to the voice of others and be willing to shift, change and morph with that expressed wisdom. That is healthy and it goes a long way in encouraging others to step up, think for themselves, and truly engage in meaningful debate within organizations and society.
If we wish to change society for the good, we must be willing to debate and discuss critical issues. We can no longer rely on politicians, educators, CEO’s, bankers, and the elite of the world to think for us. The only true action at this point for encouraging and accomplishing social change is for each individual person on this planet to start thinking for themselves, no longer relying on the umbilical cord of television and social media to tell them what to think.
Are you mad at the state of the economy? Learn about economics, what led to the crash of the world economy, and start debating with others. Feel hopeless about the future of America? Dive into the history of America and realize that the path to societal change is found in the past, expressed in the present, and finally guided into existence by the common man or woman that chooses to stand up, speak, listen and engage the masses.
Social change and healthy organizations are critically needed today. The world is ripping itself apart and every single person in the world needs hope. It’s time for each of us to do our part by offering our voice in the debate and discussion that is happening on and offline. That is the importance of dissension, it gives rise to debate, which should lead to giving everyone a call to action, something that they can do to fight indifference and hopelessness.