Home > The Monday Musings Column > You don’t agree? Make my day and tell me

You don’t agree? Make my day and tell me

I was probably about 10 when I last did a cartwheel and, as a painfully thin child, I wasn’t too bad at them. To try one now at my current age, heigh and weight would not be a good idea for myself or my surroundings, but last week I was almost tempted to try. The reason for this juvenile excitement was news that someone had disagreed with some of my thinking as expressed in the FM World Diary column. I was delighted, because it is discussion and debate that moves things forward and helps ourselves, our profession and industry move forward.

To a large degree we have lost the right to free speech, sacrificed on the altar of political correctness in public life and the need to stay On Message in business and I believe that there is no long term good in that. We need to be able to freely criticise when we thing that something is wrong. That doesn’t condone abuse, for criticism should be about ideas and be constructive; you don’t criticise individuals or make such things personal, but the person whose idea is challenged also has a responsibility to accept criticism for what it is and not to take exception.

I wrote in one of my books about friction being a good thing because it is friction that allows movement; friction between your foot and the floor allows you to walk, as does friction between the wheels of your vehicle and the road. Friction between people, if allowed to work in a positive way, allows progress. I have always encouraged people in my teams and around me to challenge my thinking for I have no divine right to be right and there could always be a better way or someone may know something that I don’t that will change my position. If no-one tells me I won’t learn and if I stop learning I won’t progress.

Over the years I have worked in environments where to get on I would have had to be a Yes Man and I loathed those jobs to the point that I got out of them as soon as I could and it made me determined that I would not work that way once I got onto the slippery pole of management.

These days I have the privilege of platforms like this block, various publications and opportunities to speak where I can pontificate on matters, but I am only expressing a view from where I stand. The fact that people appreciate my thoughts enough to follow what I have to say is pleasing, but my ego does not need feeding and a challenge to my opinion is welcome. It doesn’t matter who is right or wrong for in many cases there is no such distinction. Life isn’t one thing or the other, it is far broader than that and we don’t have to agree on anything in particular. We can still be friends, or at least get along, and as long as we can bounce ideas back and forth between us we will grow and move forward.

I may be too old and the wrong size and shape to attempt a cartwheel, but the joy of debate will, I hope, be with me for the rest of my time here. And if you disagree please tell me; I’d love to know why.

 

 

 

 

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