Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Facts –The Downfall of Many Dreamers

A friend of mine once said that the best way to end a meeting that was going nowhere with a bullet was to suddenly yell “B I N G O and Bingo was his name-o” in the middle of the meeting.  Apparently either the humor of it or the fear that a nutbar was in the room provided more than enough incentive for the meeting to end quickly.

There is another way to kill a meeting or an extended email exchange (or to bring it back on track) when people are passionately expressing their dreams and ideas.

How do you do it?

Ask questions like “why”, “how do you know”, “do you have data to support that” and similar questions.  Equally powerful is the application of Carl Sagan’s Baloney Detection Kit as described in his book “The Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark”.

There are many outcomes that can manifest once the questions have been asked - more permutations than be described easily here.

There are, however, some important elements that will manifest immediately.

1. Does the dreamer embrace the need to be strategically and tactically intelligent in converting their dream into reality and do they take action that demonstrates this?

2. Does the dreamer have the humility to accept that they may not have all the pieces and thus welcome insight from others or do they dismiss the questions with answers like “I just know”?

3. Does the dreamer get irritated that someone would dare interfere with their dream by introducing the notion of facts and realities or do they ignore the questions altogether and continue expressing their “dream to save the world?”.

The answer to these questions will go a long way to understanding how successful a new venture will be …. or will not be.

Equally important, the answers will speak volumes in terms of whether you should get involved or not - whether you should invest your gifts, talents, strengths, time, money or other resources or whether you should redirect your assets to something more rewarding for you, for others and for the planet-at-large.

This is true regardless of whether the dreamer is someone else ….. or it is you.

80% of dreamers will not appreciate the value of such questions and will reject them with varying levels of courtesy and respect (or employ the tool of choice for the passive-aggressive and the insecure ….. silence). The querent will require deep reserves of patience, strength, courage and a sense of self-value to withstand the number and intensity of those rejections.   The querent should take comfort from the fact that they will have saved themselves from participating in the reality that the 80% are doomed to mixed success at best or catastrophic failure at worst.

However, with perseverance, the querent will discover that the 20% who do embrace difficult questions produce valuable, long-lasting relationships built upon a strong foundation of trust, respect and mutually-rewarding results.

Warning 1: If you are the one being asked the questions and you feel a sense of discomfort over them, it is important to analyze the source of the discomfort.  Otherwise, your instinct may be telling you that you are in fact part of the 80%. The feeling of discomfort may actually save you if you allow it to change how you respond to the questions.

Warning 2: Don’t allow the need for facts and data to prevent you from dreaming.  The ability to dream big is essential to success.  However, once the dream has been cast, it is important to allow facts and data to play a major contributing role in the success of the result.

Does your dream or intention stand up to scrutiny?

How do you know?

In service and servanthood,


Addendum – Feb 26 2013

In a discussion of my blog on Facebook, “Ann” mentioned how two business partners of hers fall into interesting but complementary roles.  One is a dreamer and the other is always asking questions, sometimes producing what she described as “explosive” situations.  However, when two such sides can work together, the big thinker who can think outside the box and the querent, keeping the big thinker honest without constraining him / her, the results can be powerful.  When one side or the other becomes the dominant force, the results of the organization are likely to be diminished.  My blog was directed towards a singular person on top who preferred dreams and no data, an unhealthy balance. Smile

1 comment:

  1. It is also the downfall of many politicians.