Monday, March 8, 2021

Why "No" is Important to Your Success

One of the features of social media that people seem to appreciate is the ability to block or unfollow or mute people who annoy them or disagree with them. This creates a much more tranquil online experience as it means that you're only interacting with people who you consider "nice" or who agree with you.

Unfortunately, that's not the best strategy for your career, says Adam Grant, author of "Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don't Know."

In his book, Grant provides examples of people finding success because they surrounded themselves not with "yes" -- but with "no."

Grant, a Wharton management professor, says that people who always agree with you aren't likely to point out flaws in your plans or express skepticism. They don't challenge you to think differently, to look at the world in a different way or help you overcome weaknesses.

That's why he advocates having a "challenge network." These are people who are "disagreeable -- critical and skeptical.

"They're fearless about questioning the way things have always been done and holding us accountable for thinking again," he says.

Too often, Grant says, people protect themselves from dissent as they gain power. "They tune out boat rockers and listen to bootlickers," he says.

The key for finding the right people for your network is knowing that these people dissent because they care, not simply because they delight in shaking things up. You want people who are moving toward excellence -- they look for better solutions because they have integrity and a commitment to looking for successful outcomes.

Who could be part of your challenge network?

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