Diversity of Thought

Diversity of thought. This is something that is necessary in order for society to progress. Even in the corporate world, contrasting views of how things should be done help to develop better outcomes. The easy road is to agree, the right road is to challenge the norm. This is not something that people do lightly, especially when much is at stake. We find ourselves shying away from having the tough conversations or from disagreeing with those who are in positions of power. But that isn’t right. And I honestly think that great leaders don’t want us to hide our opinions.

I’ve frequently run into situations in my career where I’ve felt led to disagree with leaders on the course of things. It’s not something that I do lightly, but with great thought and care. The important thing is to show respect, even in disagreement. This is what leads to progress. But it is not easy. Expressing your opinion, especially on something that is important to you, is draining. I’ve gone home many a night mentally drained from a single meeting or conversation.

You reflect on that moment, wondering if you made the right decision. But time gives us perspective, and perspective gives us a deeper understanding of the world around us. All of this leads to experience, which breeds wisdom. Wisdom is something that is difficult to understand, but easy to recognize. Wisdom is in many cases what separates the thought leaders of the world from the rest. Wisdom is what tells us that it’s time to challenge the status quo and move an organization forward.

Sometimes I wonder if the battle is worth it, it’s easy to get beaten down by time. But change does not happen in a day. Change takes time. That is something that wisdom teaches. But change will not happen until there is diversity of thought. And sometimes… all it takes is a spark to ignite the fire. That fire then burns with an intensity that is unquenchable. That fire becomes the driving force for change, the catalyst for something greater.

In some organizations, the urge to fight the fire can become overpowering. But... fighting it only causes it to grow out of control. Instead, the fire should be nurtured, developed and grown into a powerful force for change. A controlled fire can accomplish seemingly impossible things. An out of control fire does nothing but destroy everything we’ve worked so hard to build.

Nurture your fires. Don’t fight them.