Do Skeptics and Pollyanna’s Have Value on a Team?

Being positive has created many ideas. Being a cynic has saved companies millions of dollars. It’s important to realistically balance both ends of the scale before it decimates a business, an idea or partnership.

What do you think?

One businessman wanted a divorce. Why? His wife asked good business questions about a new venture he wanted to try. But, she wouldn’t agree because he was unable to answer the financial questions in a way that worked for her. He accused her of being negative and unsupportive.

What are your thoughts? Was she negative and unsupportive? Or, realistically looking for the right answers?

Being positive and skeptical have value. Being a Pollyanna (believing everything is great, even when it isn’t) and not realistically addressing the details can cause major problems and insurmountable challenges. It’s important to understand success requires balanced positivity.

Both positivity and skepticism provide value:

Many business leaders face the same challenges with their management/executive teams and Board of Directors.

These enthusiastic leaders (Pollyanna’s) are:

  • -Thinking something will work out simply because they said so — not a viable business strategy.
  • -Believing a client, business partner or investor should readily want to provide time and/or money without a viable plan, sound financial projections and the right people — not good business acumen.
  • -Visualizing only a great outcome, forgetting the success or failure is in the details – not good business management.

These skeptics are:

  • -Saving companies millions of dollars.
  • -Asking financial, sales, operational, and people related questions about their projects or programs.
  • -Focused on the how, what, when, where and why of releasing new technology, launching new vehicles, issuing new procedures or publishing new works of art.

While cynics or skeptics are not always right, there are lessons to be learned from them. And, if you’re unable or unwilling to address these questions realistically, you better proceed with extreme caution.

Balanced enthusiasm will position your company for growth:

It takes a strong leader to address the following criteria and develop a well-rounded team of committed people to work together to fulfill them.

  • -Positive vision that has team alignment.
  • -Declaration of the intended result, in writing (aka goal).
  • -Written focused action plan, and is managed for intended results.
  • -Ensure others’ concerns are addressed and appropriate actions taken.
  • -Value other’s contributions.
  • -Stay unattached to how the process should look.

Addressing these will make a significant difference when balancing the skeptic’s and Pollyanna’s contributions to achieve the intended outcome, saving you time, energy, and innumerable dollars.

Jeannette Seibly has been a business advisor and facilitator for over 23 years; she guides the creation of new solutions for business challenges and is the author of over 300 articles and 4 published books designed to help business leaders lead successfully. Check out her website: or contact Jeannette at

©Jeannette Seibly, 2015

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