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Open Letter to some of our Thought Leaders Dear Thought Leader, I really appreciate what you did for our community and the progress of our industry in general. But sometimes I am puzzled. That happens when you bash an idea or even worse a person. The ideas you had and the concepts you developed are […]

Open Letter to some of our Thought Leaders

Dear Thought Leader,

I really appreciate what you did for our community and the progress of our industry in general.

But sometimes I am puzzled. That happens when you bash an idea or even worse a person. The ideas you had and the concepts you developed are great enough to stand for themselves. You don’t have to bash other ideas/persons to make your concepts look brighter.

Here are some examples that might highlight what I am talking about:

“X clearly didn’t understand what Y means.” How do you know? Did you do an in-person test with X to check his understanding of Y? How does it feel for X when you say that? What will be his reaction? Will he check his understanding or is it more likely that X just defends himself?

“In his blog entry X addresses Y but sadly stops at Z and didn’t thought of A.” How do you know that X didn’t thought of A? Perhaps he did and decided to leave it out to keep the article short?

“Y is a stupid idea. It would lead to (unwanted) Z.” At least when people are involved how do you know that Y would lead to Z every time in every situation, especially when you tried Y never or only a few times? Do you think the advocate of Y is lying when he says that Y worked at his place?

I don’t suggest stopping arguing! Arguing is possible without devaluing other ideas/persons.

One could say “X wrote a nice blog post about Y. I’d like to add some thoughts on Z.” or “X presented Y in a way that puzzled me. I would rather think that …” or “Y didn’t work when I tried it. Therefore I tried something different that I’d like to present.” or even “Y simply does not resonate with me. Therefore I used Z.”

If you defined something very clear and X presented it just plain wrong you could just call or email X and make the correction. Don’t spend your previous keynote time correcting one person. There are hundreds in the audience who want to learn something from you.

My wish for the future is that we all learn to become better at arguing without bashing and devaluing.

Yours respectfully,

Stefan Roock

P.S.: I am am sure that I bashed other peoples/ideas as well but that doesn’t make it any better.


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