I want you to think about something that the late Andy Grove (former CEO of Intel) referred to as “Helpful Cassandras”. These are people who are really critical and likely to, in a positive way, let you know possible faults in your ideas and thinking. They are the honest voice in the room telling you your idea is actually flawed when everyone else may be telling you it’s brilliant.

As leaders rise up in organizations and get more power, more clout and more success, it’s harder to find people who disagree with you. Andy Grove found that, in committee or project meetings, everyone would agree – and that can be really dangerous.

So, who do you have in your life who is critical of your ideas? Tells you that you have spinach in your teeth? Helps you to find the flaws in what you’re doing so it improves your thinking? Not people who break you down but people who challenge your thinking, debate with you and find ways to shape your ideas to make them better and better. These people are critical.

Of course, once you finally get to a decision point, they need to agree with you, support the decision and move ahead. They can’t continue to criticize or debate because that would be counterproductive.

The Challenge

Think about all the meetings you are in, the teams you are on, the projects you are part of…

  • Do you have someone who’s really there, in a positive way, finding the negatives, the weaknesses or the gaps so you make better decisions and have better thinking?

If you want to hear more about this, listen to this episode of The Growth Whisperers podcast as we dig deeper into this topic, and look at the things that are required to create better collective intelligence with your team.


About Kevin:

CEOs typically place their first call to Coach Kevin with a crisis to solve. They stay because of his business acumen and no-holds-barred, tell-it-like-it-is style.

Kevin’s career spans 20 years, over a dozen countries and four continents. He’s worked with hundreds of CEOs and executives, helping them to break through business challenges, grow their companies and find personal success along the way.

These experiences inspired Kevin’s book, Your Oxygen Mask First, in which he reveals the 17 habits every leader must know to transcend the perils of success, and achieve even more.

About Lawrence & Co:

Lawrence & Co’s work focuses on sustainable and enhanced growth for you and your business. Our diverse and experienced group of advisors can help your leaders and executive teams stay competitive through the use of various learning tools including workshops, webinars, executive retreats, or one-to-one coaching.

We help high-achieving leaders to have it all – a great business and a rewarding life. Contact us for simple and impactful advice. No BS. No fluff.