“THE ABILENE PARADOX AND CAVALIER!”


            In the corporate world, ‘The inability to manage agreement occurs when a group of people collectively decide on a course of action that is contrary to the preferences of many of individuals in the group; when the top boss throws an idea! This is because everyone in the group thinks that he would look stupid if he disagrees and standing out as a lone voice is very embarrassing. This leads the group to decide on ‘yes’, when ‘no’ would have been the personal (and the correct) response of majority. We get then only the weak, meek, submissive and impotent collective mind…the organizational growth and brand product thus suffers (as quoted from Ayn Rand and Prof Harvey).

            Organizations frequently take actions in contradictions to what they really want to do and therefore defeat the very purpose they are trying to achieve. This is the inability to manage agreement, not the inability to manage conflict; the very essential symptom that defines organizations caught in the web of the ‘Abilene Paradox’!

            The above extract (of the paradox) is common to the corporate world, where ‘PROFIT’ is the central theme, but can this be applied to Defence Services organizations? The answer to this is clear ‘NO’. The individuals serving the Nation, through this noble profession are dealing with ‘LIVES’ (lives of the citizens and the soldiers under command) and not for any pecuniary profit!

            When candidates report for training /coaching at the Cavalier India institute, it is often noticed on an average (among a group of 15 participants) that dissent and contrary views are quickly brushed aside to accommodate a common view during group discussions and inability to express individual views on Situation Response Tests. The appointed leader by the group often ends up with a common solution while hesitating in conveying the dissenting views too! This leads to weak and submissive solutions to a problem designed and the whole group suffers. The Cavalier India professionals are really good in managing to steer group solutions alongwith ‘differential views’, thus encouraging new and varied ideas to crop up so that by the time a candidate faces the main Services Selection Board (SSB), he is prepared to challenge himself and steer a team confidently, taking on leadership while managing collective minds too!


Col Toms/-
(Training Faculty, Cavalier India)





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About Cavalier India

Cavalier India is the biggest Defence Career Training Academy in India with network covering the entire country. We train candidates to face SSB Interviews, NDA Exam, CDS Exam, CPO Exam, AFCAT Exam and Other Entrance Tests.