Step 3: The visionary is brought back into the room and is shown the objections. He/she is not allowed to make the critics look bad or negative in any way. The critics need to be thanked and honored for their role because they were critical at the right moment (not behind people’s backs at the coffee maker). The visionary will then spend some time trying to find ways to overcome the problems that were presented.
Note that it’s important for the critic to realize that he or she is a part of a team and it’s not their role to remain critical. When the decision has been made to move ahead, they need to then be as supportive as possible. This seems like common sense but it’s good to be reminded of these things.
Here’s an example of how this could play out:
Step 1: The visionary says, “I want to start an initiative in our business where we feed every hungry person in our city.” He/she offers details of the plan. Then he says, “I’m giving you permission to find the flaws in my plan. I don’t want to look like an idiot in the press or have this fail or disappoint a lot of people if it won’t work.”
Step 2: The visionary leaves the room. The critics
(and possibly some others) look at the plan and try
to find out everything that could go wrong.
• There’s not enough money
• There aren’t any people to help
• There are too many poor people
• Etc. etc. etc.
They write down their objections with as many details as possible. “There’s not enough money. In our last year, we earned a profit of only $1,200. There are 100 poor people on the street in our town and that means only $12/person per year. That’s not enough.”
Section 1: The Power of the Idea
Ex 8: Evaluate Ideas
Our preceding lessons have showed us how to curate, investigate, concentrate, and aggregate ideas. Now we want to understand how to evaluate ideas. Which ideas are good and worth pursuing? Which ideas should we put on the shelf for a while? How do we know? How can we be sure?
“Dreaming” is a key role in any entrepreneurial vision. Of course this isn’t about sleeping on the job. We’ve already spent some time dreaming in this course. We asked the question, “What 50 things would you love to do if you had unlimited money, if you had unlimited time, if you were in peak physical condition, and if God were your partner?” Then your mind started to expand and perhaps think of some things that might be possible that you had never considered before.
The critic is an essential part of any entrepreneurial vision. If you are naturally critical, that can be a good thing ... at the right time. The critic excels at finding problems in the dream. They are naturally critical and their skill is invaluable to a good team. When the right boundaries are set (to be explained later) they unveil the potential difficulties that a plan might have and may save the team lots of time and money in wasted hours.
As dreamers or visionaries or entrepreneurs, we have to allow the critics to bring us back to earth a little. If you don’t have a critic on your team, don’t think to yourself, “Whew! I’m lucky.” No, you need to go out and get one. These are valuable people…if you keep them harnessed properly.
Step 1: In a good business brainstorming/problem solving meeting, the dreamers and visionaries present the dream.
Step 2: Then, the dreamers leave the meeting and the remaining people focus on identifying possible problems and any obstacles to successful fulfillment of the dream. It is best not to have the dreamers in this phase of the meeting because they often take criticism of their dream personally. This is the phase where you give the critics the permission to go wild. You say, “Find every flaw you can. That’s why we hired you!” This is where they earn their money. And if they do their job right, they will save you from making mistakes that will cost you time, money and possibly embarrassment.
Step 3: The dreamers are brought back into the meeting to generate new ideas that will overcome the obstacles that the critics and others have identified.
The challenge that we face is that these roles are not necessarily formal roles in a business environment. Companies don’t hire people to be the critics. They do hire people who are CFOs or Chief Financial Officers who will have teams of people under them whose job it will be to do “due diligence” on any idea that is brought forth. The person who is a critic for your idea could be the CFO, the marketing manager, or even a secretary. It depends entirely on the situation. The point is that in an honouring climate, the visionary learns to work with the critic and will respect the role the critic plays. A team spirit understands (through training perhaps) that the team is a support group and every member has a necessary role to play.
It’s the same in business. Every business or entrepreneurial venture needs a dreamer – someone who can think beyond or outside of their current situation and consider what might be possible. But dreamers can also have a great friend, although they might not realize it at the time. As an entrepreneur, you’ll need a team mate with this important role. Are you ready for this? It’s someone who is appropriately critical? Let’s explore what that means.