Diverse points of view are the source of disagreement, but they are also the foundation of better decision-making. The next time you are working on a new initiative or project, think about who your biggest opponents might be. These are the people who often are a thorn in your side – they think whatever you’re doing is a waste of time and other resources, or they believe you should have gone in a different direction. Engage them in a conversation anyway, as it will lead to your eventual success. Set up meetings with each one, and without getting defensive, let this person tell you exactly what they think. It won’t be a comfortable dialogue, but wouldn’t you much rather know this information than not? Then, and this may be a bitter pill to swallow for some of you, ask this person if they’ll join your project team. Now before you write me off completely, let me explain. If the person says “no”, then you’ve lost nothing but you’ve probably gotten deeper insights into what some of your upcoming challenges might be. If this person says “yes”, you’ve now got someone on board who not only adds diversity in thought to your team, but also understands what could go wrong and possibly could become an enthusiastic advocate for your initiative.
So what do you think? Good idea, or is this more trouble than it’s worth? Jump in and tell us what you think.