Posted by: Brad Stanford | November 14, 2013


As a general rule, debates are bad ideas. The idea of a debate at its outset is to have two opposing viewpoints in a competition to prove one viewpoint is right while the other is wrong. It assumes that the two viewpoints involved are quite convinced of their rightness, and will not change their opnion regardless of facts presented, or new evidences introduced. By definition, a debate can not be a logical discussion of pros and cons.

However, two people who say, “Let’s figure out the best way to fix this,” are already standing shoulder-to-shoulder facing the same direction. The problem is the problem, rather than the opposite viewpoint being the problem. The problem then has a chance of being solved.

Using a debate to denigrating your opponent and make him look foolish in an effort to sway public opinion to your side creates a greater divide and more resistance to solving a problem – in short, a more determined enemy. You might win some hearts and minds, but you have not helped to solve the problem.

Yes, there are those rare times when idiocy must be put down in order to solve the problem. If the squeaky wheel is preventing progress, then it must receive grease. But if the wheel squeaks because the machine design is poor, then no amount of grease will fix it. In other words, resistance to an effort to fix a problem is more often caused by a misunderstanding of how people work – and the resulting poor leadership – rather than people not wanting to work together.

In general, stay away from debate, and stay close to people, while increasing in knowledge and wisdom about how people are wired.

Learn to generate desire, not animosity.


  1. Brilliant.

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