We're afraid of confrontation, and it's killing us
I discovered Twitter Analytics for the first time this weekend, and like any good nerd, I spent a lot of time scrolling through the data for my account. On March 12th, there was an enormous spike that correlated with the readership for my blog that day, which was the day that I published a post entitled "It's time for fraternities to die."
The original tweet received responses such as "Good thoughts," "Interesting read," and even one person said they shared it at a presidents retreat, where students called it "the most impactful article they have ever read".
On March 13th, I tagged a number of associations in the interfraternal world, asking for them to join the conversation. The tweet had a high number of clicks, but produced zero comments, discussion, or questions.
So, either I am the world's best writer and my insights on the state of the interfraternal world were so penetrating that nary a person could produce a single response (doubtful), or the high number of readers chose not to engage (probable).
Engaging is more than clicking a "thumbs up," or retweeting an interesting thought.
I was reminded of meetings I have been a part of that have come to a close after very little discussion, only to be followed by a flurry of fiery emails or social media messages.
In my opinion, these meetings are not that different from our online personas. Oftentimes, we can choose not to show content from people we disagree with, even without unfollowing or unfriending them, ensuring we do not have to acknowledge the disagreement, and thereby disrupt the herd.
But what does it say about us when we choose not to engage on those issues that we care about, because we do not want to cause a scene or make the meeting last any longer.
If you were a quarterback for your favorite football team, the pocket created by the offensive line can only last for a few seconds before you have to make a move. If you were an Apple engineer, continuing to make minor improvements to the iPhone 5 would not be a strategy for long-term success.
Many people find comfort in the status quo, but the greatest risk exists in standing still, whereas the greatest strength is in always moving forward and refusing to stand still.
So, how can you use divergent thinking to resist the status quo and to secure your organization's future? What stand will you take?