Isn't it amazing how sometimes in business we seem destined to repeat the mistakes of a previous generation? It made me thing long and hard about why that is the case in a recent meeting, and then it struck me.....and at that moment the great Einstein sprang to mind when he said, and excuse my poetic licence for grammatical benefits....to create change we must first change the mindset which first caused the 'issue'.
You see that is the issue right there. Humans are, at their heart, pack animals - in fact there is a well known theory to describe our behaviour, it is called herd mentality.
We all long to be part of something and being part of something does not mean being on the outside of the 'circle'. Have you ever stood talking to a colleague before a major meeting and heard them spout off that they plan to do the opposite of what the natural convention has been to that point. Then have you witnessed them do the exact opposite of what they said before the meeting during the actual discussion? That is herd mentality in all it's glory!
We long to be part of something and not the outlier. It is at our very core, hence why being a social outcast has so many negative thoughts attached to it. However, consider this for just a minute please, most of what we consider the most amazing minds of any era have been described at the time as social outcasts at the time they were doing their best work.
It wasn't until after the event that they were labelled as brilliant because 'hindsight' is a great predictor of the past. It shows us that we were wrong, it shows us that in business we need to embrace the outlier (not physically please or we may have some HR issues to contend with) but we must hear their voice.
Progress comes from challenging convention, progress comes from being brave enough to accept that there may be another way. Consider this statistic (I know 14-71% are made up depending on who you believe ;-)) but all sources agree broadly that more than 98% of people are honest. If that is true, and I believe the research was honest! That means that most employees do not go out of their way to ruin your day or the business. Assuming positive intent we owe it to them, and the business, to consider that they may be right - and don't defend your position or herd mentality will prevail.
Remember in any situation we don't want to create 'Deja vu all per again...'