One Idea Forward, Two Opinions Back

Since my post last week about ideas and opinions, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the differences between them.

Here’s a short list of what I feel are important differences:

Don’t get me wrong. Opinions aren’t always bad. In fact, they’re usually necessary. What we have to realize though, is opinions are steps back. Sometimes we need to step back from an idea, but common sense tells us we have to move forward again if we want progress. So, if an opinion causes you or your team to step back from an idea then ask yourself, “What can we do to move forward again?” And you’ll probably come up with a great idea.

Dustin Staiger is a business and marketing coach in Houston, TX. He addresses team and individual effectiveness, marketing, communications and creativity for smaller, entrepreneurial organizations as well as large enterprises.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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9 thoughts on “One Idea Forward, Two Opinions Back

  1. Lovely stuff. I have found these tenets that you have beautifully captured in this post differentiates the truly brilliant people in leadership positions. They are mentors, they are not control-freaks, they are catalysts, they are Level 5 leaders( as Jim Collins) calls them.

    They do not have a “killer instinct” (to kill other people’s ideas and views!).They nurture.

  2. What if your opinion is IN FAVOUR of a truly groundbreaking idea? How can that be a step backward?

    I find that your definitions/descriptions of opinions to be, ironically, more of your own opinion than fact-based. It only holds true if an opinion is NOT to go forward with a new or different idea. Your list might be less controversial if it were written with neutral language rather than biased language that implies you are “taking sides” with ideas, in the battle of ideas vs. opinions.

    Opinions help you narrow your focus as well, which is good. You may have ten great ideas but if you tried to use them all in conjunction with each other, each might become diluted or tweaked to fit together and you’d end up with ten mediocre strategies (once implemented from the idea phase) rather than one great one. Which would you prefer?

  3. S.Swaminathan, thanks for your comment. Yes, mentorship is a great sign of leadership and I think can be a differentiator between a boss vs. a leader.

    Laura, great questions. If you look at my descriptions of opinions, most of them are not truly negative words (though I agree a lot of them give negative impressions). I know this is a little controversial, but I tried to soften it a bit with my closing paragraph. Still, what fun would it be without a little controversy (but not just for controversy’s sake).

    An opinion in favor of an idea isn’t necessarily a step backwards. What IS a step backwards is the typical number of opinions that have to be sought in order to VALIDATE the idea. Advances in technology have alleviated a lot of these hurdles for enterpreneurs, but not so much for large corporations. I think we’d be befuddled by the sheer number of brilliant and likely successful ideas that are born and killed inside corporations.

    You’re right, my list describing opinions is not fact-based. But it is idea-based. It is based on the idea that if opinions and ideas are different (they have differing definitions) then they probably serve two different purposes. The problem is that too few understand that opinions are not ideas. This comparison is the idea I used to try and solve that problem for some of us.

    Thanks for extending the conversation and allowing me to clarify.

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