Group Speak

By: Troy Nottingham
February 7, 2017

Sometimes It Is Good To Disagree

It’s only human nature … to hear, in a sea of opinions, what we want to hear.  The views that align with what we believe.  True for politics … religion … dating … you name it.   And, so it goes in business as well.  We align ourselves with like-minded people and coalesce around common principles and goals.  That kind of unity is (and always has been) the backbone of success in business.  Yet, as with most things in life, this kind of team ethic – while a great asset to growth – can also be a threat.  The key is knowing the difference and remaining open to considering all points of view.

At the end of the day, this need for objectivity is the real value that firms like ours bring to the table.

It’s not so much the ideas we deliver as it is the questions we ask.  Our job, when done right, is to question everything – especially the most fundamental of principles under which our clients operate their businesses, position their brands and develop their products.  To push back (respectfully) and to go deeper (tenaciously).  Once done, if a client chooses to pursue the same path they’ve always been on, great.  The decision is a considered (vs. assumed) one.  If, on the other hand, the client chooses a new path, that’s great too.

People bring us to the table when they are pursuing something they don’t currently have – more revenue, a better message, penetration of a new segment, etc.  Implicit in this desire for growth is the need for change.  So, the toughest situations for us to overcome in helping our clients move their brands to the next level are when too many sacred cows are present … or when we hear the words “that’s the way we’ve always done it around here.”

When we talk to clients (new or existing), we constantly ask why, often challenging the commonly accepted “truths” of the category, the company or the brand.  And, regardless of the answer – because there is more than one way to accomplish most things – the value is in asking the question and pursuing the discussion that follows.

So, what are the fundamental truths for your industry, your company, your department, your team?  How often is someone challenging what you believe to be true … about the company, the market, your consumer?  What are some of the most significant successes your organization has enjoyed … and how often has that success come in tandem with a challenge to the way your organization thinks about and / or approaches the market?

Teamwork and growth work well when those on the team are in agreement.  They flourish when challenge is invited to the process and healthy disagreement is possible.

Who is challenging you?