Help wanted: Contrarians needed

When he first joined the Marine Corps in 1975, Robert Neller’s commanding officer named him president of the “I don’t see why” club.
Neller questioned everything.
That doesn’t go over well in the tradition-bound US Marines. They have been doing what they do successfully since George Washington was pruning cherry trees.
Neller had it tough rising in the ranks.
“I was always the guy tossing the metaphorical Molotov cocktail,” Gen. Neller admits.
It took guts to be a contrarian.
All of us in business need at least one.
They are the ones with the guts to question our decisions, find chinks on our armor and save us from doing something stupid and expensive we may regret.
I’ll bet you have at least one on your team at work and probably at home, too.
Many of us are married to one.
Count your blessings.
They can save us from bad judgments and costly mistakes.
The executives at SC Electric & Gas and Santee Cooper could have used a Robert Neller.
They hired incompetent contractors to build a pair of multi-billion dollar nuclear reactors,
They had no plan, no schedule or penalties for cost overruns and expensive delays in finishing the job.
Robert Neller would have raised red flags.
How do you encourage contrarians?
It’s not easy. Listen to and show respect to them.
Let your people see your show of respect.
It may encourage more timid ones to raise questions.
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Can politics harm your hard-earned reputation?

They say in show business, “Any publicity is good as long as they use your name.”
That may work in show business but it’s not the best policy in other businesses.
For example, this was posted online by a California visitor to a Lexington, Va., restaurant: “I was dining at the Red Hen and witnessed them rudely refuse service to Sarah Huckabee Sanders. I was disgusted and appalled by the incident. I will never eat at this establishment again.”
Mrs. Sanders is President Trump’s press secretary and daughter of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. After a waiter posted that his boss refused service to Mrs. Sanders and her family, she tweeted that she was asked to leave because she works for the President. Mrs. Sanders wrote: “Her actions say far more about her than about me. I always do my best to treat people, including those I disagree with, respectfully.”
The cyberverse lit up, pro and con. Another wrote, referring to a Colorade business, “The baker had a right to not make a cake for a gay couple, right? This restaurant owner had a right to not serve someone who lies to the American people.”
Is it a good policy to let your political feelings decide your business policies? Could this kind of action backfire on you?
You’ll have to live with what happens.

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