Villing & Company

The Head-Shakers Among the Legion of Nodders

It's easier to agree. Way easier. Piece of cake. Nodding offers zero resistance. No fight is necessary. Boardroom blood is spared in favor of peace and a collective trajectory that we've all shaken hands and high-fived on.

There's only one problem. There's a cliff out there and the blindfolded, nodding marchers are heading right off the edge.

As I see it, truly great ideas are incompatible with the status quo. The status quo is comfortable. Great ideas are often uncomfortable. So by blindly nodding agreement, one is effectively impeding the potential of a breakthrough idea. In the book, Good to Great, Jim Collins said "Good is the enemy of great." Expressed another way, "Good enough is seldom good enough." Those who have the courage to boldly shake their heads in disagreement are more likely to achieve success than the passive head nodders.

Great ideas are inherently disruptive.

The trouble is, bad ideas find discord too, so the trick is seeing the difference. Frankly, the committee of nodders may not be where to look. One of Pixar's famous list of rules for good writing is to reject the first three ideas that come to you. Another way to say it, is question everything. Be critical in a good way, not just for the sake of being contrary. Continue to ask yourself whether your company is doing what is best in each situation. Is the idea for the next step the right one?

Learn to say no. It's the only way to say yes to a good idea.

Filed Under: creative

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