Why We Should All Be Talking Politics at Work

Seven more days. As we near the end of the most brutal, divisive and polarizing presidential campaign of the century, rare is the individual who hasn’t found himself engaged with an opposing supporter and emerged furious at their fellow’s incomprehensible allegiance. Yet it is precisely because of this ugly landscape that I often instigate political discussion with colleagues around the office.

My world view dictates that in the chaotic mess of competing fact-based opinions, a unifying consensus will emerge. The ability to encourage dissent and solicit counter-arguments is a crucial life skill that mitigates the dangerous risk of groupthink. Many organizations have formally adopted this concept and created a “10th man” whose sole purpose is to challenge the conventional wisdom. Israel famously institutionalized this process in the wake of their disastrous Yom Kippur War of 1973.

As narrowcasting increasingly silos our opinions and weakens our ability to tolerate opposing views, the 2016 presidential campaign provides fertile ground to slow this shift and strengthen our decision-making skills. While I have no disillusionment of changing a colleague’s vote, the civil discussion that emerges has the potential to lay the groundwork for future collaboration in a way that leads to a far stronger final product.

Thoughts or questions? Feel free to comment below or email me at gmarans@savills-studley.com