Is an opinion the final answer?

There are groups of people that you will come across in life that feel their opinions are fact. They will defend and state your questioning it isn’t the right path. The two that come to mind are ‘many’ teachers and most corporate learning instructors.

For teachers, there are a few that drive to get students to question decisions stated by others as facts. They want their students to think things through. Then, there are the others, a high school english teacher comes to mind.

In a class where we analyzed what stories meant, we all gave our interpretations. At the end, the teacher explained what the story actually meant. While the teacher’s proposed answer seemed like it could be one option, it didn’t set with a couple students that it had to be the only answer. Upon asking, I was informed that the teacher’s answer was based on the book’s teacher notes in the back. Of course… I just had to ask if the story writer was the one that wrote the teacher notes. Within a week, I found myself in another english class where the teacher was also a rebel.

The above came to mind recently when at a corporate retreat, the result of an exercise came to a different conclusion than the instructor stated it did at the end. When questioned, they stated that the result was as expected and moved forward. In this case, unlike the teacher, the instructor was hired to get a line of thinking across. To help guide us to a conclusion.

Like a school classroom though, corporate team building gatherings carry a level of pressure to go along. Not only is there fear of being blocked from advancement but there is also the desire to fit in and not rock the boat amongst your peers.

Other than saying to everyone to just risk the repercussions and standing up for what you believe. The answer to the team building meetings is management doing a better job at interviewing the people they choose to run the tasks. Taking the time to throw out a bunch of ‘what if’ questions. At the end of the day, the company wants the team building meeting to be successful so taking a little extra time up front will pay off through better results.

Beware the speakers that have a book to sell or a desire for follow up meetings. Remember the point your trying to drive to your team, not getting caught up in a quick sell from someone who can’t back up their message.