What Qualifies You to Provide a Credible Opinion

Many people have strong opinions, whether credible or not, about what you should or should not do, whether backed by experience or not.

And the more people you have, the more unsolicited opinions you’ll have coming at you– from family, friends, people who work for you, and random people on the internet.

The tricky balance is allocating enough time for people and making them feel like they’re heard while not making everything open to debate.

As a leader, you often have to put your foot down and hope everyone supports the decision enthusiastically and understands why.

Ultimately, the leader makes the decision.

Ray Dalio covers this expertly in his book, Principles.

The Dunning-Kruger Effect (incredible concept) says that the most uninformed people have the strongest opinions.

The antidote to DK is #LDT (learn, do, teach)— to only voice your opinion when you have learned something and implemented it successfully yourself many times to have a credible opinion.

#LDT for giving credible opinion

To provide advice, even when you really believe in something without achieving it yourself, is to be a backseat driver or armchair quarterback.

I constantly catch myself and others voicing opinions on something. Then consider if the opinion is backed by a successful implementation to ensure that it is not from a hypocrite or an unknowing and well-meaning victim of DK.

I’ve discussed this at length with mentors many levels above me, but never yet found one who has been able to get people in a large organization to understand #LDT (to provide an opinion only when qualified).

I thought there must be a way to teach this seemingly simple concept– since it would open the eyes of many.

But my mentors have said the solution is not to force this learning on people but to have a super high bar in the first place (avoiding the problem altogether).

Isn’t it incredible how good, intelligent people can come to opposite conclusions?

How do you address leadership challenges?

See how Extreme ownership has taught me that there are no bad teams, only bad leaders.

Advice to a 20 year old Dennis

Employees complain and make problems– owners solve them.

No matter how smart or right you are, consider if you’re creating headaches for others to deal with or alleviating them.

That’s how you get ahead in anything you do.

The Mountain and The Storm

The mountain and the cloud were friends.

They admired each other’s qualities.

The cloud admired the mountain’s grandeur, peace, and beauty– a rock-solid, comfortable place to call home.

And the mountain enjoyed the cloud’s ability to provide rain to his slopes– enthralled by the power of thunder.

But after a while, familiarity led to complacency.

The mountain didn’t like being confined to one place, unable to escape the enveloping choke of the clouds, unable to see to yonder lands.

The cloud realized, for all its supposed power, it was as wispy as the wind– no substance, weak, unloved, and unnoticed.

So to get attention, the cloud summoned all its energy to create a storm.

Perhaps a display of force would impress the mountain and rekindle what once was– to replace complacency with excitement.

On and on the storm tried with all its might– generating hurricane force, knocking down trees on the mountain, gray clouds turning to black.

But the mountain stood silently– not a reaction.
It knew it could wait out any storm, no matter how powerful.

The mountain had learned long ago to retreat inside when trouble brewed outside- deep into a place of safety.

The storm raged a few days longer, but it was futile.
No amount of force could change the mountain’s iron will.

And 3 days later, the sun came out, since the clouds were gone.