#253 from R&D Innovator Volume 5, Number 12          December 1996

FORUM—from our readers

I Miss the Ogre

We’ve had a new vice president for the past year.  He’s a very kind person who has gone through some of the latest management methods.  He makes sure that everyone is prepared for the weekly one-hour brainstorming sessions.  To encourage all of us to speak our minds, he doesn’t let any of us criticize or ridicule our colleagues or their ideas.  The meeting ends with consensus views. 

I want to compare our current nice VP with the one he replaced a year ago, who was quite an unpleasant person.  Our previous nasty VP left our company for another vice presidency.  All of us had bad run-ins with him.  His weekly meetings were more like free-for-alls.  We argued with him and among ourselves.  Sometimes he would berate us for so-called silly comments.  He would frequently push us to come up with, not a solution, but to the very best solution.  The emotion of the meetings continued long after the session ended.  Usually, we—in the absence of the VP—continued discussing the issues in the hallway or in our offices.  Sometimes these discussions went on for hours.

The nasty VP got us emotionally involved.  In my case, I frequently thought about the issue at hand for days afterward.  The nasty guy got our creative juices flowing.  We wanted desperately to come up with the best answer.  The nice VP hasn’t been able to provoke that kind of emotion.  The nice guy uses various brainstorming tricks to get us to the best answer, but the answers we get from our current meetings, I feel, are usually of lesser quality than those originating from our old meetings.  Furthermore, when the nice guy’s meetings are over, we go back to whatever we were doing before the session.

I kind of miss the nasty guy!


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