This phrase is sometimes thrown out as a pat on our backs for agreeing with each other. It stems from our inherent need to find consensus, which, mind you, has its own place in our world.
However, this can also nip really constructive disagreements and arguments in the bud. When we feel obligated to agree with the crowd, we’re conforming to a way of thinking that is constrained by our fear of the unknown and a fear of failure.
I’d like to propose a new way of thinking – one that encourages new opinions and deviations from the norm. Let’s agree to disagree! Let’s NOT take YES for an answer! Let’s encourage those people to speak their mind who think differently from us. It’s those people who have the courage to think differently that stand out and make a difference.
I loved Nathalie Udo’s recent post on the New Normal. Look it.. We’ve got a global economy. We’ve got people from varied cultures coming together over common causes. This is a collection of people with different mindsets, experiences and mental models. I love it!
The permutations to finding solutions to problems are endless, albeit sometimes a bit chaotic. But if you’ll indulge me for a bit and think about the possibilities… it’s mind-boggling. It’s enough for us to wonder if we should re-coin this phrase to say “Great minds think differently from the crowd”.
Yes, ultimately we do want to come to a middle-ground, otherwise we would tear each other’s hair out. But let’s get off our high horses and encourage creative thinking. Let’s cultivate the humility in our workplaces to allow people to disagree, even if that means accepting that someone else’s idea was better than ours. This is what sets us apart from the crowd and keeps us ahead of the game.
Also, let’s reward those in our workplaces who do indeed dare to deviate from the norm, dream the impossible and find ways to achieve it. I’ve seen some companies investing in creativity by setting up events to showcase it and/or actively rewarding it on a periodic basis. This isn’t a new concept. I just wish we saw more of it!