As many provocative quotes go, the caricature of the extreme makes the point. We in organizations often suffer from the same recycled views from people who have similar views on things, frequently grouped under a magical category called ‘team’. And they produce minutes.
As we, in The Chalfont Project, are launching our third Accelerator, InnovACTtions, sitting beside Reboot and Disruptive Ideas, I am reminded of this old quote, which as such, claims many authors. I heard it from Tom Peters many moons ago. What a pity we don’t have DNA testing for quotes.
One of the four pillars of InnovACTtions is ‘Seeking unpredictable answsers’. The predictable ones are already there. ‘Seeking unpredictable answsers’ means exposure to people you may not know well. I have spoken about this a few times
‘If you have two guys who think the same, fire one of them’ means let’s try to get different views, several options, diverse positions on the table, or we will be stuck in groupthink. Small groupthink, or big groupthink, it’s all the same. Cosiness driven by the magic of comfort that ‘agreeing with each other’ brings. (Tip: Red flag on this when somebody on the conversation says ‘I guess we are all saying the same with different words’)
Kjell Nordstrom and Jonas Ridderstrale, authors of the great ‘Funky Business’, said: ‘The ‘surplus society’ has a surplus of similar companies, employing similar people, with similar educational backgrounds, working in similar jobs, coming up with similar ideas, producing similar things, with similar prices and similar quality’.
When I read this quote, which I use with my clients very often, I have an urge for a mood elevating substance, including antidepressants. But the quote is fair representation of the reality.
Seeking different views is not always fun. It’s so much better to talk to people who agree with you.
But, then, expect comfort, not innovation.