On Diversity Of Thought & Hiring People You Disagree With

Do you like to hire people who challenge your opinions?

I’ve often tried to find candidates for our clients who (and I hate this word), align. As in, there’s a cultural and an almost ideological alignment on top of the necessary skills and experience.

The question is, how much non-alignment can you handle?

I knew an Irish guy back when I lived in Paris who who quite freely admit to being quite hard to employ. He was a thinker. He often found the negative in things, and – damnit – he was often right.

It was one of my first lessons that my innate enthusiasm and optimism may sometimes be misplaced.

Not everyone shared my opinion that he should be listened to, and that maybe – just maybe – he’ll be proved right one day. Perhaps it was the finger-wagging doom-mongering that did it.

Surrounding yourself with people who disagree with you is vitally important.

  • You are not always right
  • You are not always informed
  • And even if you are right, you need to know the negatives

I’m not saying you should hire a team that all actively disagree with each other. That sounds like a recipe for inertia.

Instead, seek out that valuable combination of diversity of thought and acceptance of disagreement.

This is particularly useful in creative and strategic teams where the dreaded boardroom brainstorms can result in design-by-committee, with everyone compromising to the point of blandness.

And while we’re all talking about diversity of background, gender, education, and so on – really what we’re actually seeking is diversity of thought.

Perhaps it’s the final barrier to break down.

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