Discuss, don’t decide!

I attended a really inspiring dinner this evening. A bunch of women trying to make a difference in the world – super inspiring stuff indeed. It was very frank, very open. There were blockages discussed as well as successes. One of the examples of blockage was one where a woman told us of her experience working in the arts, where it was perceived that a playing field was quite level between the sexes. The women had as much in put as the men when it came to direction, decisions and discussion.

Then, one weekend the men played a game of golf. Out there on the course, things were discussed and decisions were made, about work. Decisions that would affect the others on the team. When they brought the talk of their discussion and the conclusions that were made, the women were thought ‘over reactive’ for disliking that this has all gone on without them, on a golf course. Asked to clarify, she said ‘you’ve presented me with a decision, rather than invite me into a discussion’.

That really got me to thinking. Not about men vs women, for this could have been a mixed sexes example – I just wanted to tell the story as it happened.

I started thinking about the many examples where this happens – where one party or part of the party, decides things on behalf of others, where that might not be the best way to play it: The silence for 6 months followed by the ‘I’m breaking up with you’. The boss that terminates an employee with no performance management. The parents deciding on big moves and then announcing to the family. The management teams who don’t take staff opinion into consideration and are then shocked at high turnover of staff when they roll something new out.

Are we scared of what might happen if we let people into a discussion? Are we scared as leaders what people might say when asked for their opinion?

The world might achieve a whole lot more if it listened to more people. Think of all the possibilities we shut out, the ideas we silence, by leaving people out of the discussion.

Fall in love again. Find a hidden talent in an employee. Talk to teenagers about big changes at home. Do a workshop day before deciding on major business roll outs.

Inviting people to discuss, is much more rewarding long term, than presenting people with a decision based on a discussion they weren’t a part of. Openness while a little scarier a path, is one that invites not only discussion, but connection and from there, we can really do amazing things together.

Have a beautiful weekend,

Alexx xx


  1. Vera says

    Indeed, so often I think about sitting at the round table with the kids and including them in the decision making for around the home etc. and then things just get to busy and blaaaa excuses……

    It is a practice that I want to really really work on this year and thank you for highlighting this subject.

    I have a wonderful story in regard to my son and Montessori school, He started at a new Monti high school last year, the senior students cook lunch and then sit down together at tables and share the meal together, My has food allergies to wheat and dairy and I wanted him to really fit in so we let his diet slide a little, ok a lot!! and of course he suffered with the reaction asthma etc. So on returning to school yesterday I approached the head of school to let her know he would not be able to participate in the lunch practice and to my surprise she said we would never let any body be excluded from any situation, the children will work together and discuss a new menu plan to accommodate him. It is a very important practice that everyone be included in the decision making and understand the importance of being flexible to help others, and that sometimes sacrifices must be made in order to consider the needs of everyone. Alleluia these are our future leaders……. so I guess the invitation to discuss is being taught to these teenage children and what a beautiful lesson.

    • alexxstuart says

      That is such a beautiful story. It’s with stories like this that we know we’re getting somewhere in the world being a more compassionate place. Thanks for sharing, Alexx x

  2. says

    This is so true Alexx, I think I have a habit of thinking things out for myself, getting enthused and then letting the family know my thoughts, more of a fait accompli than is probably wise. Especially my two teens could do with being more involved in family decisions.

    • alexxstuart says

      I’m so glad it struck a chord with you too Seana! Openness. It’s scarier, but it creates more beauty between people in the end. That’s motivation enough for me to up my game! :-)

  3. Iolanda Trovatello says

    I love perspective that open discussion brings. Sometimes it’s easiest to just make a decision than spend time discussing it. Your words are a reminder :) thank you