I’m back at my Meisner acting class. Barbara likes to say:
an actor without an opinion is like an athlete without a game plan!
It’s a powerful idea. Actors who have strong opinions have presence. You can’t take your eyes off them! Their scenes are compelling.
Is it a powerful idea in business? An opinion could be a vision, mission, strategy or a value. But opinions sound like they are more personal, less corporate. Personal opinions have a stronger influence on behaviour – in acting, in business and in life.
Should leaders have stronger personal opinions? Is this what makes them so effective? I often wonder if we are developing a cohort of senior managers in leadership competency, only to find they don’t have a personal opinion on what leadership means to them. Their leadership understanding and knowledge doesn’t translate into compelling action. I think leadership should start with a strong personal opinion on life.
Perhaps also, it is easier to trust people with strong opinions? You may not agree with their opinion. But strong opinions make people more purposeful, have a stronger presence and more predictable in their behaviour.
Strong opinions may be powerful, but they may also be dangerous. It obviously depends on what the opinion is. But more dangerously, opinions start to define how you see and experience the world in ways that reinforce themselves. Always dangerous in a rapidly changing world.
Perhaps we can all have strong opinions that are loosely held? Is that possible?