power of contrarian viewsLeon, a retired executive, and I were meeting in one of those charming little independent coffee shops that are so conducive to great conversation.

We met a Chamber of Commerce meeting.  We discovered we had a shared passion for leadership and the power of connection. Beyond that, our views of the world are widely different.

Oh wait. There’s the one other passion we share.

Healthy debate.

That really vigorous kind of discussion that challenges your thought processes and forces you to look at life, love and leadership from a vantage point outside your comfort zone.

The topic we’re dissecting:  Should contrarians be included in your inner circle? Or not?

2 widely different contrarian views

Leon’s view. Leon is passionate, wildly so, that all the people in your work and personal circles must always be a right fit. Kinda like how all puzzle pieces fit together. He believes in alignment of thought and purpose. People who don’t align, well, they’re gone. Out, not included. No compromises. No apologies.  Leon said he learned the value of this perspective years ago (of course, learning it the hard way) when he was leading his own manufacturing firm.

My view. I love having a mismatched collection of people around me at work or play.  My only requirement is that there be respect and tolerance for the difference of opinions. No I’m right, you’re wrong kind of finger-pointing.

Leon’s rationale.  People whose beliefs, ideas, skills, values, etc. aren’t aligned with yours create discord and failed outcomes. Remove them from your life before they negatively impact your success and muddle your thinking. Contrarians not allowed, period.

My view.  Contrarians bring a richness, a layer of complexity, that forces me to grow. I don’t always agree with what they have to say and sometimes find the discussion uncomfortable but that’s OK with me.

Leon and I are sitting on opposite ends of this continuum.

Where do you sit?

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