When I was 19, two friends and I decided to start selling t-shirts and jewellery through a blog shop.
Two of us – the self-professed creative masterminds of the team – were going full throttle, saying yes to everything and eager, maybe too eager, to get the shop up and running.
But every time either of us came up with a new marketing plan, or came back with quotations from vendors, the third member of our team would stop us dead in our tracks and say something along the lines of: “Yeah, I don’t think that’s a good idea”.
Back then, I thought she was the biggest buzz kill I had ever worked with, but in hindsight, she ended up being the voice of reason and caution we desperately needed.
Thanks to her, we ended up shelving plans to print shirts with a vendor who was clearly overcharging us, curbing our enthusiasm long enough to find another printer who did it at almost a third the cost.
Every team, no matter how big or small, needs someone who is able to take a step back and point out potential gaps in bigger plans.
They’re cautious, and that’s a good thing
Often, when we’re excited about a new project or initiative, it’s easy to infect the rest of the team with that enthusiasm, creating ‘group think’ which is never necessarily a good thing. Collectively, an idea may seem like a good one, but having a Negative Nellie on the team could help rein in the excitement a little and see the project for what it is.
Maybe they’re insisting you go over the numbers once more or hold off on a launch because of external circumstances. If their reasons seem sound and can be worked into the long-term agenda of your project, it may be worth hearing them out.
You may not like them, but you need them
No, it’s no fun being around someone whose main purpose is to shoot down ideas. But having them on board will keep the team grounded and aware of the realities of the situation.
If you’re able to manage both your Debbie Downers and Miss Sunshines, your organisation will be able to better take into consideration the pros and cons of every decision.