No To "Yes Men:" Embrace the Power of Diverse Thinking

This micro tool emphasizes the importance of avoiding "yes men" and promoting diversity of thought for progress in organizations. By applying Hegel's three-act discourse, you surround yourself with individuals who challenge the status quo and bring alternative perspectives to drive innovation and overcome complacency.

LEADERSHIPDIVERSITYTEAMWORK

Beniamin Pascut

2/27/20232 min read

Disciplines: Business; Philosophy

Are you interested in driving success by creating a culture that endorses diversity of thought, intellectual curiosity, and imagination?

Let me share an interesting paradox: While leaders aspire for progress, many find themselves surrounded by a troupe of "yes men" who simply echo their beliefs and behavior. The result is fatal. Organizations enter a state of complacency that hinders innovation, diversity of thought in decision-making, and creative solutions to complex problems. But here's the catch: the problem lies not with the “yes men,” but with the leader themselves. Intimidated by the expertise and talent of others, leaders master the art of making themselves the center of all things. Competition is eliminated, and “yes men” are formed through manipulative tactics, exploitation of vulnerability, and phycological control.

In this post, I want to share an intriguing theory with you—one that makes a compelling case for surrounding yourself with individuals who defy a "yes men" mindset. Why is this imperative? Because, believe it or not, it's the most effective and productive way to reach real progress.

What exactly is progress? It’s all about moving to an improved or more developed state,” according to the Cambridge Dictionary. Now, allow me to introduce you to Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, the philosopher who spent most of his life philosophizing about progress in history. His outstanding theory defines the movement of progress as a three-act discourse from thesis to synthesis.Act 1: Thesis – the initial concept or condition, belief, or behavior.

Act 2: Antithesis – the contrasting, challenging, or contradictory concept or condition, belief, or behavior that confronts the thesis.

Act 3: Synthesis – the integration of thesis and antithesis into an elevated and enriched belief or behavior called progress.

Put simply in mathematical terms, T + A = S, with the synthesis of progress (S) emerging from integrating the thesis (T) and antithesis (A).

Now let’s apply this to our scenario. What happens when you surround yourself with “yes men”? You are doing yourself a great disfavor because all you get is T + T = 2T, with your synthesis (S) being twice the thesis value (T).

Let’s have Hegel’s three-act narrative inspire us to hire and retain individuals who question our status quo and usher in alternative ways of thinking, propelling our organizations toward progress. Not making ourselves the center of all things and facing opposing viewpoints, alternative perspectives, or dissenting voices is hard work. But it’s the best and fastest way to progress.

Say no to “yes men” and yes to those who embody anthesis. Progress is on its way.

Ben Pascut; Beniamin
Ben Pascut; Beniamin

STRIVE FOR EXCELLENCE

Take this Micro-tool to Your Team!

Do you want to explore Hegel's thesis, antithesis, synthesis in the context of collaboration? Take this fun exercise to your team.

Exercise: Unlocking the Secrets of Collaborative Processes

Objective: Explore how contradictions can lead to greater insights and innovative solutions.

Instructions:

1. Divide your team into smaller groups and assign each group a work or industry-related project or problem.

2. Instruct each group to identify the thesis (the initial concept or condition, belief or behavior, problem, or project) and brainstorm about the antithesis (any opposing viewpoints or challenges that contradict the thesis).

3. Encourage the groups to identify the value that the antithesis brings and seek to create a synthesis that transforms or elevates the thesis in light of the antithesis.

4. Have the groups present their analysis to the larger team, discussing how the thesis, antithesis, synthesis process enlarged their worldview by promoting critical thinking, collaboration, and creative problem-solving.