“Where all think alike, no one thinks very much.” – Walter Lippmann
Have you ever worked with a group of people where everyone is very similar? I am not just referring to age or ethnicity. Sometimes we tend to gravitate toward those who are like us. Perhaps they hold the same set of values or have the same career background or the same personality type. Together you might settle into a type of routine. You have a very good understanding of one another and you know what to expect. It is easy for you to have discussions and come to agreement when it comes to strategies and plans.
So….. Who comes up with the new ideas? Who helps to push you out of your comfort zone?
You don’t want to fall into a situation where having the same thoughts become the same thing as having no thoughts. When you begin to have more and more situations where you feel like you don’t even have to discuss things because you and your team instinctively know what the other is thinking, you might be in a dangerous place. It is very comfortable to work with someone and hear them respond to you with, “That is exactly what I was thinking.” Yet you do not want to lose that edge that comes from someone pushing you to think differently or to consider an angle that might not occur to you.
It is good to have a voice in the crowd that is different than the voice of the crowd. Push yourself to seek out the thoughts and opinions of people who don’t think like you and don’t agree with you. Form relationships with people who you just don’t understand or who look at you and just don’t get you. It does not mean you are going to become like them or they like you, it means you will be pushed to see things in a whole new light.
It may not always be fun but it is definitely important. The ideas and feedback you receive from people who are your opposite just might give you some of the most valuable insight you will ever receive.
Here’s to thinking differently and thinking with different people.