“When two men in business always agree, one of them is unnecessary.” William Wrigley Jr

And how!

With many entrepreneurial teams, there is little disagreement on the execution of the business plan.  This makes for a blind team.  While you want the team to be in agreement on where you are going strategically, you need people who think differently than you and your team members to successfully execute the business plan. 

If you are on the team and looking to add people, make sure they are not carbon copies of what you already have.  If you are joining a new start-up team, challenge a few of their ideas (tactfully) during the interview.  If they push back, you are looking at a potential failed team.

It is a difficult line to see and respect, that line between agreement on the long term strategy / business plan and the more immediate issues associated with executing the business.

 There is another way to read the quote above.  The worst executive team I ever worked with was the one where everyone agreed.  In my case this was true because the President of the company was famous for the following response to any new idea:

“Are you willing to bet your job on it?”

He did not say it in an encouraging way.  He meant that if the idea failed you were fired.  You can imagine how much time it took for everyone on his team to learn to agree with every idea he ever had. He lasted about 18 months and in the process destroyed 2/3 of the stock-holder value in a $950m/yr publicly traded company.

Driving a team with fear and intimidation will destroy all creativity and useful dialog no matter the size of the company. 

Written by Mike Colwell

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