I was invited to serve on a Board of Advisors several years ago. After the second meeting, the president shared with me that my participation was causing him to rethink the name of the board. I had taken my role as advisor seriously and thought he really wanted advice.
What he really wanted was:
A Board of Agree-ers, not Advisors
His comment caused me to disengage.
I write about this because it is a good example of how nixing innovative conflict disengages people and likely diminishes the growth and excellence of an organization. Blind agree-ers don’t move things forward.
All too often input is ignored, difference are expressed destructively, or people disengage.
Just how do you bring out the best in your people to engage for innovation?
First off, you’ve got to value and want input.
If you don’t value input, people usually feel the invisible wall you unconsciously raise. And, unless they are highly motivated they either honor the wall with compliant agreement or they will fight against the wall.
Second, when an opinion is offered celebrate and consider it.
How to celebrate an opinion? You could jump up and do a jig. Or, simply say ‘thank you’ and acknowledge how his or her opinion is aligned with the vision. Write suggestions on a white board. If you model openness others will begin to offer suggestions as well. Create a safe place to share ideas.
Third, have time allotted for discussion
Time is precious. If people feel stressed about not enough time they will not engage so to finish on time. Allow time for ideas and discussion on the agenda.
This is a big topic, my intent here is just to get you thinking.
If you have trouble expressing disagreement without creating resistance – Let’s talk! That is the purpose of Spiral Impact!
I’d love your input on the blog!
Karen, very good ideas. I also try to engage those who have offered a different approach by asking for more information. If I still don’t agree with their approach because I see a “blind spot” in their idea, I try to ask how their approach will handle “x” or “y” complexity. I have found that it best to remain open to new ideas and keep the communication lines flowing both ways.
Mike, good detail to add. I find people really value their thoughts and ideas being considered and discussed much more than being attached as the outcome. Thank you for your valuable input!