…. just find me one reason why you can!
The number of times I have sat in a meeting with exceptionally bright people and lost the will to live haunts me. You too have been in the same type of meeting, be honest you know you have. A great group of really smart people are brought together. The agenda is clear. We have a Marketing campaign or product launch that needs to get planned and driven into execution. The stakes are high driven by executives in the company. The “Virtual” team are all on point to deliver and the meeting kicks off with the Goal and Objectives that everyone needs to own and share.
Then the ideas on execution start to flow. Big bold investments and plans start to take shape. The “Radiators” in the room are all driving for highs in performance and in market execution. Then disaster, the “Drains” wake up and start to explain in great detail the 1000’s of reasons why the ideas won’t work or the issues we will almost certainly face if we tried. Using their knowledge and experience to devastating effect by destroying the entrepreneurial spirit in the room and ultimately the execution we are likely to deliver. Please don’t misunderstand the point I am trying to make. You do need realists and pragmatists in meetings or you would face total anarchy and likely embarrassment in the campaign you executed. This being said it’s about being balanced in the reasons why you can’t do something and in turn being open to the reasons why you can.
So next time you are in a meeting and trying to get everyone to take a stretch target or try something completely new, listen to the realists and pragmatists as they are trying to save you from making a mistake. At the same time challenge them to use their intellect and experience to come up with solutions and not simply objections. Personally I have used on many an occasion the comment: “I deeply respect that you can find 1000’s of reasons why we can’t do this, I simply need you to now find the 1 reason why we can”.
It works, try it!
That’s my view, please take a moment to share yours.