Why Great Leaders Don't Take Yes For An Answer

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Professor Michael Roberto's book on leadership and decision-making


He separates himself from the pack with an-depth exploration of the human and organizational obstacles that can inhibit sound decision-making processes.
- Fort Worth Star Telegram
The book is rich in both theory and examples. It will undoubtedly illuminate deficiencies in your own decision-making processes...
- The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
The result is a book that can be easily translated into the idiom of almost any organization.  And it couldn't be a timelier message.  Whether you're in politics, business, or running the family farm, you should take heed. 
- Kirkus Reviews

Leaders hear ‘yes’ far too often.


They don’t hear bad news until it’s too late. They get groupthink, not reality.They think they’ve achieved consensus, then find their decisions undermined by colleagues who never really bought in.They become isolated: even high-risk or illegal actions can go unquestioned. It’s an enormous problem: for leaders, for teams, for the entire organization. But is it inevitable? Absolutely not!


In this book, Harvard Business School Professor Michael Roberto shows you how to stimulate dissent and debate to improve your decision making; he also shows how to keep that conflict constructive.  Of course, conflict alone does not produce better decisions and improved results. Leaders need to cultivate debate and simultaneously build consensus. Strong buy-in paves the way to successful execution. Through fascinating examples from history, including the Columbia space shuttle disaster and the tragedy on Mount Everest, the book explores:


■ How real organizations make real decisions:  How the decision process unfolds throughout the organization-not just in the executive suite

■ The five myths of executive decision making: Why they’re so dangerous, and how to overcome them

■ How to foster open debate that actually builds long-term consensus: How to achieve “diversity in counsel, unity in command”

■ How to move to closure: overcoming the inability to decide: Avoiding “analysis paralysis” and other pitfalls

■ How to gain the whole-hearted commitment to act: Addressing hidden doubts that could undermine your final decision


Mike Roberto offers powerful new insights into managing teams, mitigating risk, even promoting ethics through effective governance.  Whether you’re a senior executive or a project team member, this book will help you leverage your team’s immense untapped wisdom to make better decisions - and get better results.   

Boardroom meeting



Why Great Leaders Don't Take Yes For An Answer:

Managing For Conflict and Consensus

Wharton School Publishing