I must have heard this for the first time from Tom Peters many years ago. He was, and he is, and will be, the most non-bullshit management guru in history, At the time I thought he was like an hyperactive bright kid that having done time with McKinsey had escaped to freedom following the success of ‘the book’, ‘In search of excellence’. And he is still searching, now more than before, through social media, which he was prompt to adopt.
My take is that, yes, ‘If you have two guys who think the same, fire one of them’, the question is which one. And if the remaining one thought like you, would you fire yourself?
Not a game of words this is.
One of the most unsettling things I hear usually around 3:45 pm of a long day meeting is ‘I think we are actually saying the same thing, but with different words’. Dammit! 99.9% of the cases, no, actually, we are not saying the same. This is just verbal Valium. And it works.
Not many people understand true diversity of opinions. Despite the music against, many hiring policies still provide clones of people in the payroll, just with more experience, or qualifications, or ‘having done it before in a big way’.
Corporate life favours groupthink. I am not that worried about the Big Groupthink, the one so obvious and colossal that somebody will be bound to call time out and shout, seriously? Do we all agree on this? This is benign compared with the insidious Valium of ‘I think we are actually saying the same thing’.
We need diverse thinking, audacious thinking, outrageous thinking and normal thinking all together.
In some organizations, if we were to apply Tom Peters rule, the firing would be viral