“Today, I concur!”

How employees learn about company values by using competitive debate

In late 2014, we released our essay with the German title (whose English translation you can see above) “Heute bin ich dafür! Wie Mitarbeiter durch das Debattieren lernen, sich mit Werten im Unternehmen auseinander zu setzen” as a contribution to the anthology „Weiterbildung orientiert an Lebensphasen“ („Further education adapting to stages of life“) published by GABAL. The three authors Sarah T.P. Andiel, Thore Wojke and Marietta Gädeke show how companies benefit from debating:

Corporate culture has developed into a key selling point of marketing and recruiting: Media, job candidates and consumers alike take a piercing look at corporations and analyse whether guidelines are lip service or if their promises are really kept. Not the postulation of new guidelines by the management bring the required commitment of all employees. Instead, it is the individual in-depth analysis of corporate culture and the values behind by each employee which will ultimately lead to an extensive acceptance and internalisation of the new corporate behaviours. This leads us to an innovative method which stimulates this process and leads to a deeper and better acceptance of top-down decisions: Debating.

Debating is a speech competition in which two teams – Pro and Con – introduce arguments in favour and against of a specific topic to the audience. This creates ideal preconditions to implement company values:

  • Debating supports corporate culture through a factual exchange. It creates a better culture of discussion. And thanks to “permitted contradiction,” in the tradition of the Advocatus Diaboli, it leads to better solutions.
  • Debating serves as a measure of personnel development. It improves rhetorical skills and supports a productive way of dealing with different opinions and counter arguments. This development of social skills and leadership qualities has a positive effect on the conflict culture of a company.

A vivid debating culture within a company serves everyone: It stimulates an exchange about values. This integrates employees more tightly, engages them in critical thinking and offers space for constructive discussions. Debating is a new discussion method for meetings, a way to add transparency to the company’s philosophy, a form of taking up current questions, a fun game to sketch new lines of argument or a regular event in order to further educate employees and to keep them up-to-date with current events: Our authors can show you how to successfully use debate in your company. Get in touch today for an individual offer or to order a signed copy of the book.

About the Authors:

Sarah T. P. Andiel – www.sarah-andiel.de

The university graduate of rhetoric and BDVT-certified trainer coaches companies in the fields of rhetoric, business etiquette, and customer service. She learned to debate with Streitkultur e.V., Germany’s oldest debating club. To this day, she commits herself to debating on a voluntary basis, e.g. as Tournament Director of the World Debating Championship in 2013 and as a master-trainer.

Marietta Gädeke – www.lilit-kommunikation.de

The founder of Lilit Communication won the German Debate Championships and made it to the Quarterfinals of the World Universities Debating Championship twice. She coaches and trains entrepreneurs, politicians, and executives in intercultural competence, rhetorics, and PR. She was the Chief of Staff of both the World Championships in Berlin and in Chennai. Over the course of these three years, she led more than 200 employees from over 10 different countries.

Thore Wojke – www.vdch.de/vorstandsbeiraete

The debating trainer and “master of jokes” has been highly successful in competitive debate for more than 10 years. He is recognised as one of Germany’s most experienced debaters. As such, he participated in innumerable competitions and worked as the tournament director of the World Universities Debating Championship in 2013. He is a lecturer of rhetorics and argumentation at various universities.