To continue with my insights on the book by Marshall
Goldsmith, “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There,” this
week I will be discussing the habit of: Negativity.
We all know people who have a default response to any
idea, which is, “Let me tell you why that won’t work.” Or
a variation such as, “The only problem with that is…”
This characteristic is not the same as:
– “Adding too much value” because the person adds no
– “No,” “But,” and “However” because the person is
not attempting to hide his/her negativity under the
mask of agreement.
– “Passing judgment” because the person is not rating
or comparing the idea to anything.
This is plain and simple negativity under the guise of
HR CONTRARIAN POINTER: Some years ago, I read about a
creativity technique with the acronym, PIN. PIN stands
for Positive, Interesting, & Negative. This technique was
designed to force participants at a meeting, where someone
presents a new idea, to identify 3 things about that idea:
– First, participants must identify all the positive
characteristics of the idea.
– Second, members of the group must discuss all the
interesting and unique aspects of the idea.
– Third, individuals needed to identify the negative
parts or drawbacks of the idea simply because the
group needed to view both sides of an idea.
This technique was not a guarantee that an idea would be
accepted. However it did guarantee that any idea would
get a fair hearing, and that’s what people want – a fair
Chances are very good that if your default response is
negativity, the word is out about you and very few
individuals are presenting new ideas to you.
However if you are interested in generating ideas that
will benefit your business, the next time someone does
present you with an idea, force yourself to say, “That’s
an interesting idea. Tell me what you see as the benefits
of implementing it.” Of course, you will need to follow-
up with a question similar to, “What do you see as the
downsides to this idea?” But if you allow the person to
express his/her idea and you participate in expressing
positive aspects of the idea, you will be surprised at the
response of the person who presented the idea. And
perhaps a new word will get out about you.