I’ve always been the “Devil’s Advocate”, and a contrary voice throughout my career/life. Not because I’m a negative person, but to question and create a discussion about a project or idea. Too often ideas are not questioned due to “group think”, peer pressure or fear, resulting in projects and plans that have not been embraced by the members, and will slowly fizzle away and fail.
Who really wants the idea to work? Without a bit of an argument or debate, I find it difficult to determine who is committed to the idea, and ultimately this is what matters. Commitment by group members does not insure success, but it facilitates communication and guarantees that everyone is shooting at the same target.
This is why I loved Cuculuains blog entry “Don’t fear the Devil’s Advocate” at Businesspundit
I believe his observations are important in that they ask you to create an attitude and environment in your company that actively seeks to promote debate and question the merits of an idea WITHOUT fear of losing their job or offending members of the group. Create the position of Devil’s Advocate at each meeting or presentation, and let the company know you are creating an environment that promotes and can reward ideas and debate.
The idea of implementing constructive criticism and encouraging your people to play the “devil’s advocate”can only result in more communication, better project presentations and more unity in final decision-making.
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