When making decisions, opposites attract…or at least they should. Let's face it, we all have blind spots. The only way to beat your blind spot is to find somebody who lives there (your anti-style) and buddy up with them when you need to make a decision. This frenemy is your secret weapon for smarter decisions.
An anti-you can be anybody who thinks differently than you. We need those people close by.
It's not just because somebody has to be there to annoy us when our families aren't around. We also need them to keep us from driving off the road, from causing accidents, and accidentally ditching the team members who are trying to follow us. Sometimes your anti-you is more or less assigned to you by your functional roles. In hospitals, doctors have nurses and nurses have doctors. Surgeons have anesthesiologists. Entrepreneurs have chief financial officers. Chris Albrecht from HBO had Carolyn Strauss. Glen Peterson from Davis Medical had Priya. Jorgen Knudstorp had Jesper Ovesen. Ruth Handler had her husband and Yas Yashida.
But in some cases, functional roles don't shake out the way you'd expect. About a year into the working relationship with my Chief Operations Officer, Cliff, we discovered just such a disconnect. After hearing me give a presentation on the importance of an anti-you in which I told the Mattel story from the previous chapter, he asked me afterward, “So am I supposed to be the risk-averse one in this relationship?”