I recently had a case at work where a leader decided on a bold new project despite a lot of objections from everyone around. The project looked high risk, had not been done before and was unclear on the risks. All the more reason to do it, said the leader. We all supported and we moved ahead.

Then for many months we sensed an effort to keep everyone out of the project. Every time we asked about progress we were told to stay out, give the team space and allow the project to move. There was a sense of not allowing the others in as they were critical of the idea to begin with. The leader and the operating team felt that by inviting critical views, they would prevent the success of the project. So everyone else was kept out.

Many months passed and then a review happened. We found the worst. There were operational issues, losses in some areas, lack of clarity in others and some very unhappy partners. The more we probed the more we found issues and a lack of clarity on the way forward. Many of the issues were obvious to the other cross functional leaders but their view had not been sought.

So what are we do in a situation where others may be harshly judgemental of our views or approach. Instead of defending how about adopting a radical new approach – welcome the haters.

Identify all the people who can add value to your work due to their experience and especially those who may dislike your ideas or in generally oppose your approach.

Now welcome them all into the board of directors for the project  and say “I welcome you all and your diverse views. Look forward to your critical inputs and feedback. Our goal is to achieve a great success and we want to hear from you.”

As often as possible , perhaps once a month do a check in with this haters group to see how you are doing , get their inputs on your progress and seek the areas where you can go wrong. Very often the cross functional teams will add significant value and help you improve what you are doing. Sometimes their inputs might be biased and not very useful.

Your job is to bring in the expertise, the criticism and hate and turn it into fuel for progress. Go welcome the haters !

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