Building Better Ideas: How Constructive Debate Inspires Courage, Collaboration and Breakthrough Solutions

  • 1h 56m
  • B. Kim Barnes
  • Berrett-Koehler Publishers
  • 2019

Why do teams settle for bad ideas or kill good ones? Popular consultant B. Kim Barnes's unique process of constructive debate shows how teams can create better ideas and outcomes by eliminating obstacles to honest discussion, creativity, and collaboration.

In too many organizations, great ideas and unusual solutions can be suppressed, ignored, or attacked. Departments defend their turf, and people choose what is safe over what is better. Bad ideas move forward and good ideas die, which can lead to disastrous results--financial or otherwise.

Luckily, there is a workable path out of this dysfunction. Kim Barnes's process of constructive debate shows how to establish conditions that encourage the free exchange, discussion, and development of ideas and eliminate conditions that prevent potentially useful ideas from getting heard. By using this tested model, any company or team can improve outcomes and bring out everyone's best ideas.

A constructive debate is one in which a diverse group of individuals can express their ideas, engage others in building on and improving them, explore ideas deeply, and challenge one another's positions in a fair and productive way. In this book, you'll learn a set of behaviors you can model and encourage and a process you can facilitate, lead, or support your client in leading. In this time, where opinions can be tribal and differences can lead to unconstructive conflict, it's important to find ways to build robust ideas through a thoughtful, fair, and inclusive approach.

About the Author

B. Kim Barnes is the CEO of Barnes & Conti, an organizational learning and development firm. She has over forty years of experience in the fields of management, leadership, and organization development. Barnes has been instrumental in developing many successful training programs, including Exercising Influence, Constructive Debate, and Intelligent Risk-Taking, all copyrighted programs of Barnes & Conti. Barnes's work has been translated into twelve languages.

In this Book

  • Introduction
  • What is Constructive Debate?
  • How Do We Form Ideas and Arrive at a Position?
  • Power, Fear, Apathy, and Groupthink—Why Do Bad Ideas Get a Pass?
  • Introduction to the Skills of Constructive Debate
  • Expressing Ideas
  • Engaging others
  • Exploring Views
  • Challenging Positions
  • Establishing the Conditions for Constructive Debate
  • Facilitating the Process of a Constructive Debate
  • Developing and Maintaining a Culture and Processes That Encourage Breakthrough Solutions
  • Conclusion—Building Better Ideas
  • Notes
  • Selected Bibliography