Penny Green Community Voice
Forbes Technology Council

 

Award-winning entrepreneur, CEO of The Yield Growth Corp., Co-Founder of Glance Technologies and Seasoned Securities Lawyer.

Standing up for what you believe in isn’t always easy, and when you do, the outcome will not always be what you had hoped for or expected. In my experience, 90% of the time it won’t be.

This can be discouraging and can push a lot of us to sit back and stay quiet — because, why bother going for it if most of the time you’re going to be rejected or it won’t work out?

One word: respect.

Especially in the highly dynamic technology industry, the key to professional growth is respect — respecting yourself, your ideas, thoughts and opinions and being brave enough to share them with others. When you do, others will respect you too.

Arianna Huffington has lived this philosophy well; it was her fearless determination to speak up that helped her to become a successful entrepreneur and establish The Huffington Post. Before Arianna made it big, she took every opportunity she could to make her voice heard and became well-known during her years at Cambridge University, where she often participated on the debate team and took on a conflicting or contentious viewpoint. She then ran for Governor of California in 2003, but while her campaign failed, she never lost faith in her own voice. Two years later, she launched The Huffington Post, which projected her to world fame; the company was acquired by AOL in 2011 for $315 million.

You don’t earn respect by staying silent and agreeable or giving up at the first sign of failure. If you’re new to the table, it can be intimidating to share your ideas, but I encourage you to do it anyway, especially if you happen to work in an emerging tech industry where there truly are no experts yet.

Nancy Berger, the vice president, publisher and chief revenue officer of Marie Claire magazine recently stated that: “Every industry has been so disrupted that there’s no right answer anymore. Nobody has the one right answer. It doesn’t exist anymore, no matter how much experience somebody has.” The business landscape has evolved so much that black and white don’t exist; everything is grey.

While it is almost always advisable to learn from those with more experience than you, the more experienced often also learn a lot from those new to an industry.

In fact, if you’re new to an industry, a fresh perspective may be exactly what’s needed. Sure, speaking in front of a group of people can be nerve-racking. In fact, it is among the most common phobiasout there, but not speaking up in the business world can be especially harmful.

The Harvard Business Review recently summarized a study on conformity that arranged people in different groups, with the majority of each group being tasked with lying about the length of a line. When the majority lied without any opposition, 70% failed to oppose the lie and passively went along with the incorrect group assessment. However, when a single voice spoke up about the lie, only 30% agreed with the incorrect group’s majority answer. This is a prime example of the difference that one person can make by speaking up. It can change the result of a conversation and effectively give permission to others to speak up too.

Being new to an industry, especially an emerging industry like cannabis or blockchain can be a major advantage. It gives every member of the team a pass to ask interesting, unusual or seemingly obvious questions. In an emerging industry, there simply are no true experts and it’s the hard questions that are best suited to drive change.

In order for an industry to thrive, it is essential that new and bold strategies are considered and put into action. Your simple question could lead an entire industry to great change.

Very bold actions have occurred in recent history with the legalization of cannabis in Canada. As the first G7 country in the world to legalize cannabis, Canada has breached the status quo and disrupted the market. Now, Canada has the opportunity to lead on the global stage. It wasn’t easy — after a total of seven months filled with meetings, hearings, debates, witness testimony, amendments and more, on June 7 the Senate finally approved the amended Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act. Once approved, the bill was reviewed by five separate committees and took on nearly 50 changes in just a few weeks. Now, the world is changed forever.

Remember — don’t be afraid to ask the questions or speak up. Chances are that someone else is probably thinking what you’re thinking too, and they might be too afraid to ask. Most of us have had the experience of sitting in a meeting with a question in the back of our minds, wanting to ask it, but not speaking up. Then, out of nowhere, someone else asks your question.

Don’t sit back quietly — ask the questions, break the silence and make an impact on your company, industry and community.

 

Originally Posted on Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2018/08/20/why-speaking-up-is-essential-for-business-and-personal-growth/#428a044152b8