How Collaborative Divorce Makes Couples Successful Leaders

Harvard Business Review isn't about divorce, but it is a consistently valuable source of research and insight for developing effective divorce processes. That's because businesses and families have a lot in common — complex relationship dynamics, competing interests, communication challenges, etc. Yesterday, I linked to an HBR article describing two studies on the perils of email. Today, I'm sharing a fantastic piece by Laurence Minsky and Julia Tang Peters about the tremendous value of deliberate decision-making: How You Make Decisions Is as Important as What You Decide.

The article describes research conducted by Peters, in which she asked a cohort of 500 professionals to "indicate their degree of agreement on a five-point scale with 40 statements of various decision-making behaviors they used at different career decision points." The results showed that "decision making with leader-like accountability and ingenuity" was associated with strong agreement with the following three statements:

  • Before making a decision at a critical time, I invested time and effort to explore multiple perspectives, needs, and ideas through a proactive dialogue with experts and stakeholders.
  • During the decision-making act, I weighed a variety of options.
  • Then, after making the decision, I explained it fully to all stakeholders to reduce the stress of change among those affected.

As an example, Minsky and Peters describe marketer Bud Frankel's use of "Management by Wandering Around." By making sure that he was constantly informed by employees, clients, and others involved with the business, Frankel was able to identify flaws, explore options, and make sure that stakeholders understood the decisions he made.

If all of this sounds familiar to readers of this blog, that's because it highlights the very same principles that serve as the foundation of Collaborative Divorce. Collaborative Divorce is designed explicitly with the objective of helping divorcing couples explore multiple perspectives, needs, and ideas through dialogue between each other, their lawyers, the process coach, and any other professionals who might provide relevant information. Couples weigh a variety of options and work with the professionals to ensure that all decisions are clearly understood. The result is an agreement for which both spouses can claim ownership, one that is typically far more workable and durable than what a judge might order in divorce litigation.

Peters found that these decision making principles are characteristic of professionals who become successful business leaders. Likewise, these principles are characteristic of couples who use Collaborative Divorce and thereby demonstrate accountability and ingenuity in shaping their future lives — in other words, couples who are leaders in their divorce.