Book Me For A Speech

My Writing and Ranting

Press Room

Good Books

« Naps Are Wonderful, Especially If You Can Lie Down | Main | Nice Article in WSJ on Banishing Office Jerks, But They Seem Afraid to Say "Asshole" »


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Chris Young

Great post Bob! I've included it in my Rainmaker top five blog picks of the week (found here: to remind my readers to listen to their less tenured employees.

Deb Robison

Even as I got older, I was always socially incapable of not trying to change things in an organization from the get-go, then frustrated when new ideas aren't accepted. Working as a consultant makes that a little more possible for me and has been a good career move- people hire me to help them change, so they are (a little) more likely to accept my recommendations. I feel the pain though of everyone who has entered and organization and tried to help by offering new ideas and met up against the wall of the existing culture.

Thanks for your insightful, inspiring blog and work. I frequently share it with friends and am thankful for the opportunity to learn something new every time I read your posts.

Joe Marchese

I blogged on this very point a few months back, in praise of outsiders who bring.. and keep a healthy perspective. Here's the link:

Nicole Tedesco

I agree that the process can get out of hand, that of involving the newcomer. Problems of course are myriad, like the fact that the newcomer (especially the young) may not have a mature sense of risk in the current situation and is probably not in possession of all necessary facts.

Of course Nobel Prizes tend to be awarded to the young or those otherwise new to their field of study. Also, of course, there is the proverbial engineer who was "too young to believe they could fail".

Use the newcomer to your advantage, but be careful.


"Dare to be naive."

-- R. Buckminster Fuller

From my days in graduate school as an experimental physicist, I learned the necessity of challenging my assumptions. When I found myself mired in a pit of experimental reality (a.k.a. nature) I did not expect and that my "finely-honed" logic "dictated" should not exist, I went back to the assumptions I had made and re-checked each and every one, whether experimental or theoretical, no matter how trivial it seemed. Invariably, I would find a flawed assumption. Correcting that assumption redirected my thinking and improved my understanding of the particular slice of nature I was investigating.

working girl

I agree with the principle but have seen companies go too far with inefficient collaborative processes in order to 'bring everyone along' and get everyone's input. Diverse opinions are a source of strength so long as they don't turn into rule by uninformed committee. In my opinion a topic should have a clear owner and that owner should get out and talk to people - it's important to strike a balance between innovation and efficiency. Well, maybe it's not important but it's kind of annoying for the experienced people if you don't.

Carol Murchie

I'm not sure where I "got" this concept but I will say something after I preface the comment with the statement that I'm being a "naive questioner" and need someone who has a history with an organization or project to explain why something is done a certain way.

Most places I've worked I end up being the kid in the fairy tale.

Randy Bosch

The clear-eyed newcomer is not just young and naive, but often someone mature and experienced experiencing a new setting - - Dennis Berman's capability to write the referenced article, for example!

Leaders who don't strive to stay the clear-eyed newcomer are not leaders.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

Asshole Survival

Scaling Up

Good Boss Bad Boss

No Asshole Rule

Hard Facts

Weird Ideas

Knowing -Doing Gap

The No Asshole Rule:Articles and Stories