Permission to be Disagreeable

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Stuart Miles - www.freedigitalphotos.net

Stuart Miles – www.freedigitalphotos.net

To be an innovator, you may need to cultivate your disagreeable side.

Huh?

Malcolm Gladwell spoke today at boxworks 2013 Developer Day. He said he’s been studying what he calls “the social side of innovation.” More specifically, he’s interested in “social risk-taking.”

He ‘s been studying the characteristics of those who consciously choose to do what’s unheard of, to confront the status quo, and to ignore conventional wisdom.

After researching and talking to a lot of innovators, he boiled down two key traits he believes drive innovators’ work:

  1. a sense of urgency
  2. an ability to be disagreeable

Gladwell says we’re hard-wired to seek approval. It’s much more difficult for most of us to work against this need. To be disagreeable requires just that – that we remain indifferent to how other people feel about us.

He talked about two other things, as well –

  • 3 Characteristics of an entrepreneur: (a) open/creative; (b) conscientious; and (c) disagreeable (there it is again)
  • that entrepreneurs flourish in an environment where those who lead or manage them allow them to push back, take risks, challenge the system, and, well, be disagreeable

Things I’ve been reflecting on:

  • How do we cultivate being disagreeable? How do we teach those around us to get comfortable with it?
  • How do we balance being disagreeable with collaborating as a team? What can it look like to turn it on and off, maybe another one of de Bono’s hats?
  • How do we create and maintain companies where people can demonstrate disagreeableness and even cultivate it?

What do you think?

 

 

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