Openness alone cannot drive change or transformation. Openness isn’t the end, it is the beginning. But why?
As humans, our neurobiological drive is to seek association with people who are mostly like ourselves. Those who view the world from our glasses and those with similar stands. This however cannot lead us to achieve greatness. In order to achieve greatness both as teams and as individuals, it is critical that we surround ourselves with those who challenge the way we think. those who will critically appraise our own dogmas and what we believe. What are the key elements in so doing?How can we ensure that the teams we lead are not echo chambers?
Find People Different from Us
We have to intentionally seek people with different mindset from us. This in itself requires that we commit time and energy. It is important for leaders and teams to find and incorporate people with vast ideas, this not only frees people from the danger of a single story, but also enables us to appreciate the different view points within the teams.
Mind Wide Open
Knowing how to learn is better than Knowing. Brian Herbert said “The capacity to learn is a gift; The ability to learn is a skill; The willingness to learn is a choice.”
It isn’t enough to find people who are different from us, keeping an open mind towards their views is critical if we are to obtain benefits from the diversity. Teams must not enjoy constant fights, however, individuals must be really good at defending their opinions and finding ways to challenging and improving those of the rest of the team.
Conflict allows creativity, conflict when managed well has always enabled human species to progress and drive transformation. Conflict within organisations encourages open-mindedness and helps avoid the tendency toward group think that many organisations fall prey to. When mature teams or individuals in the teams have conflicts, three things can happen; strong relationships are built, minds are open thus encouraging innovation and encourages new thinking through incorporation of new ideas.
Bringing it Together
Constructive conflict requires us to find thinking team members who are not echo chambers. In order to create a thinking team and thinking organisations at large, we must encourage people to challenge our dogmas, conflict of ideas must be encouraged among team members and between different teams. In addition, team leaders themselves just like the team members need to create and encourage the challenging of ideas and allow their ideas to be challenged, an open mind and a mind open to continuous learning is not the end, it is the beginning of transformation.