Monthly Archives: January 2009

the paradox of listening to others

Great entrepreneurs rarely change their mind yet they always change their mind.

Most people think great entrepreneurs are poor listeners with a tin ear. They think … this guy isn’t hearing me … or she is just too dogmatic.

What happens is this … great entrepreneurs do change their mind, but very slowly (unless it is extremely obvious they are wrong). So when you meet with a rock-star founder, they are probably not going to listen to your advice right away. And that’s a good thing as they are other getting conflicting advice from tons of different people … so if they listened to everyone, nothing would ever get done.

But slowly (and sometimes too slowly) the advice seeps in and they gradually change their mind (and the direction of the company).

good post on the Abilene Paradox

Chriis Michel forwarded me this blog … well worth reading:
http://freekvermeulen.blogspot.com/2008/10/abilene-paradox-it-is-well-known.html

It is a well-known phenomenon from social psychology that people are reluctant
to voice minority opinions. My guess is you may recognise this issue and feel it
yourself sometimes; when a whole group of people seems to agree on something (a
course of action, proposal, etc.) but you have doubts about it, there is a bit
of a psychological hurdle to speak up against it. And if you do collect the
courage to speak up against it, you do so reluctantly, ready to take the heat.