Come on… Freely Debate Me!

December 21, 2020
Executive Coaching

There was an obituary in the Wall Street Journal recently. It was for Richard A. Smith, who was the Chief Executive of General Cinema Corp.


One executive said about him, “Mr. Smith had the self-confidence to encourage his aides to debate him freely.”


It turns out that he regularly asked his executives to take the other side of any issue or idea he had so that they could consider all options.


The more I thought about that the more I liked the concept. Imagine having ideas and bringing them to a team that is not afraid to challenge them. It seems to me that this would make for some wonderful ideas.


There are executives who think that their job is to lead the group by coming up with the best ideas (they would say that they are theirs) to implement within the organization. But think about how much better ideas are when more than one person contributes. Not only do you get different perspectives as you approach the idea from different angles.


Also, you can avoid some potholes by listening to what your people have to say.  They will have more buy-in to the ideas, too, since they won’t be just what you brought in.



  1. At your next meeting, bring in an idea that you think should be considered.
  2. After you present it, invite everyone in attendance to poke some holes in it.
  3. If they say they agree with it, make them try harder to poke holes in it so they get the practice of not being afraid to look at things differently than what is presented to them.

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Dan Chiodo

Passion. Charisma. Results. It’s those values and a desire to see others achieve them for themselves that led Dan to found iMPACT Training & Development, a firm which offers training to guide individuals into a higher level of performance through executive coaching, motivational speaking, staff training and organizational development.


As a Certified Mastermind Executive Coach, Dan teaches courses in leadership development, communication, sales, customer service and time management, with a focus on hands-on learning strategies.


Dan’s experience and interest in time management led to writing his book PerfectTIMING which is available on his website, as well as, Barnes & Noble and other books stores.


Dan also serves as the Senior Associate to Dr. Bill Wallisch, founder of MAIN Point, which is a communications firm that specializes in strategic communication skills for organizations worldwide. Clients include astronauts and cosmonauts of NASA, Coca-Cola, Starbucks, General Mills and the White House. MAINPoint also prepares well-known personalities for appearances on national television programs, such as Today, Nightline, Good Morning America and Meet the Press.


Dan spent a great part of his career in the communications field, having served more than ten years as the President & Publisher of the Joplin (MO) Globe, which is one of the largest newspapers in Community Newspaper Holding’s (CNHI) groups of newspapers in the U.S.

Prior to that, Dan held several management positions with Ottaway Newspapers, the community newspaper division of Dow Jones, Inc. He has also worked at communications companies in Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Minnesota and Missouri.


Dan graduated from East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania. He also attended the American Press Institute, Reston, Va., the management studies program at Kellogg University, Chicago, Ill., and Leaderpoint Management Development Institute, Overland Park, Ks. He also taught at the Bloomsburg Journalism Institute, Bloomsburg, Penn., and at Ashland Community College, Ashland, Ky. Dan was an instructor for the Xerox Professional Selling Skills program and administrated it for several Ottaway newspapers.


Dan’s assignments have taken him to countries such as Mexico, Panama, Australia, the UK and Dubai. He has also taught in the U.S. for companies such as General Mills, Nestle, Medtronic, Knutson Construction, the State of Missouri and Freeman Health System hospitals.


Dan is also on the John Maxwell Team of instructors and coaches, working with John to offer his courses throughout the country.

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