7 Ways to Maximize Talented Naysayers

It offends me when “good” ideas are resisted and rejected.

Anyone who explains what won’t work before considering how it might work is a resistant, naysaying, uncommitted footdragger. But what if the opposite is true?

Some people anticipate problems as easily and joyfully as I delight in new ideas. (It’s hard to imagine.)

I’ve said, “Any fool can point out what won’t work.” But that’s wrong.

Wisdom, skill, and experience know why things won’t work.

What if people who anticipate problems see the future clearer than DREAMERS?

5 challenging people:

  1. Gullible novices who don’t consider consequences.
  2. Arrogant dreamers who reject contrarian input.
  3. Easily offended people who can’t tolerate corrective feedback.
  4. Persistent naysayers.
  5. Dedicated naysayers.


Appreciate the difference between persistent naysayers and dedicated problem anticipators.

Persistent naysayers achieve little and habitually critique everything. In the end, they harm teams and hinder progress.

Dedicated problem anticipators pursue excellence and produce results. In the end, they protect gains and finish what they begin.

7 ways to maximize talented naysayers:

  1. Get clear on what you really want to accomplish before declaring your intention and seeking input from problem anticipators.
  2. Choose smiling over pouting. Avoid pouting when you don’t like what you hear.
  3. Ask yourself, “What if they’re right?”
  4. Lean into contrarian input that’s offered by people who consistently deliver results.
  5. Let go of offenses. Clinging to offense when someone resists your enthusiasm increases frustration and prolongs ignorance.
  6. Design plans with DOERS behind closed doors. (A DOER knows what won’t work and avoids it.)
  7. Cling to purpose. Adapt method.

When was the last time you actively sought advice from a talented problem anticipator?

The difference between skilled and unskilled leaders is a humble heart that seeks and considers input from many sources.

Leadership success is more about heart than activity.

How might leaders distinguish between persistent naysayers and talented problem anticipators?

How might leaders maximize the value of people who anticipate problems?

Bonus material:

Want to Anticipate Problems Before they Happen? Use this Strategy. (Inc)

9 Tips to Business Success By Anticipating Problems (Startup Pro)