|Source: Time magazine|
Andy Grove died this week. A Silicon Valley legend, Grove led Intel for many years. In 1997, Time named him its man of the year for his profound impact on society as the leader of one of the firms behind the computer revolution.
Grove wrote one of my favorite CEO-authored books of all time - Only the Paranoid Survive. In the book, he discusses the importance of constructive conflict as a means of making sound decisions particularly at strategic inflection points. Here's an excerpt:
It is important to realize what the purpose of these debates is and what it isn't. Don't think for a moment that at the end of such debates all participants will arrive at a unanimous point of view. That's naive. However, through the process of presenting their opinions, the participants will refine their own arguments and facts so that they are in much clearer focus. Gradually all parties can cut through the murkiness that surrounds their arguments, clearly understand the issues and each other's point of view. Debates are like the process through which a photographer sharpens the contrast when developing a print. The clearer images that result permit management to make a more informed - and more likely correct - call. The point is strategic inflection points are rarely clear. Well-informed and well-intentioned people will look at the same picture and assign dramatically different interpretations to it. So it is extraordinarily important to bring the intellectual power of all parties to this sharpening process.