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Hire people who disagree with you

April 27, 2017

One mistake small business owners tend to make is to surround themselves with people who agree with everything they say. The reality, however, is that no one’s perfect, and having a single alternative point of view is usually more valuable than a hundred concurrences.

Different opinions should be embraced, not discouraged. Most employees will be reluctant to disagree with the boss, so make sure it’s clear that their opinion matters. Here are some idea building exercises that can get your team off on the right foot.

1. The “That’s A Terrible Idea” Strategy. When holding team meetings about new concepts you’ve developed, don’t let people talk about the positives. It’s easy for people to agree with your ideas, but you gain nothing from that. Instead, only let people tell you what’s bad about it (or at least, where the pain points may be). You’ll get more info out of one of these meetings than  a dozen “that’s a great idea” talks.

2. The “Make My Idea Better” Strategy. When delivering your new concepts, challenge everyone to one-up you. Give them an incentive to come up with a better mousetrap (so to speak). You could even allow people to team together. Winner gets lunch on the boss!

3. The “Disassociated Idea” Strategy. Purposely give your team a horrible idea (like scrolling text and animated toasters on your home page horrible). Then challenge them to get creative and turn it in to something useful.

The point here is to make sure your staff knows they can disagree with you. The purpose of these types of meetings isn’t necessarily to gather good ideas. Instead, it’s to build a pattern of behavior within your company where the staff can feel comfortable telling you that you’re wrong.

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