Bad products (e.g., electronics, movies, commercials, computer operating systems) are designed by committees. A group of people sit down and brainstorm a bunch of ideas that, when finally assembled like Frankenstein’s monster, result in a product that’s designed to please everyone.

But in reality, it pleases no one.

The committee – or bureaucracy – inevitably hampers the creative process. It’s not necessarily due to bad ideas. Poor execution is one reason. But another big factor is that no one wants to step up and take any responsibility for the ideas. When a lot of energy is spent thinking ahead on how to shift blame in case something goes wrong, not a lot of meaningful things happen.

Dancing isn’t much different. Although you and your partner aren’t a stuffy bureaucracy or a committee, your dancing can still suffer from the same mindset of those who need to schedule a meeting in order to discuss the topic of next week’s meeting.

Tango is not an ongoing, unspoken compromise between two people who are constantly afraid of offending each other.

It’s about trying to figure out each other’s strengths in a relatively short amount of time, and to make decisions that bring out the best in one’s partner. Each step is not tentatively decided upon, but clearly executed. And whatever result, positive or negative, is owned.

dilbert committee copy


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