The Contrarian

Warren Buffett the Contrarian

Many of us who invest are familiar with Warren Buffett's theories on Contrarian Investing. To summarize for those that aren't familiar with the term, contrarian investing is being willing to go against the crowd.  If the market or single stock is rising fast, a contrarian would say "time to sell", as well if a stock is falling rapidly a contrarian may say "time to buy". This contrarian theory tries to avoid the herd mentality that is driven by primarily 2 factors: FEAR and GREED.  I am not a professional investor nor would claim to be, however I do understand the basics of contrarian investing.  However I don't want to focus on the investing side of Contrarianism (is that even a word?).

Jordan Hodges the Contrarian??

I am becoming increasingly aware of the power of being a lifestyle and conversational contrarian.  As I spend more time in a leadership role, I am seeing that the true visionaries, those that separate themselves from the pack are contrarian. The herd or pack is moving in a direction but those that are able to disentangle themselves from the mainstream may see opportunity where others do not.

Recently I have been involved in some conversations that I have taken a contrarian approach to.  At the outset this method has caused quite a stir.  There has been some anger, fear, frustration expressed at the method and means by which some of the conversation spaces were created, BUT where conventional wisdom would have approached the situation with a soft hand, I employed a firm handed method that ended up surfacing EXCELLENT conversations which have led to desireable outcomes.

Recently I also had the privilige of talking with someone who had been dealing with a difficult customer.  The natural reaction the person had to an angry customer was to return the emotion and hostility with more of the same.  This is the common reaction and is almost always anticipated.  As we discussed the persons reaction and desire to respond in kind, it occurred to me that this was another time that the contrarian theory could be applied. Rather than returning fire with fire, why not return agression and hostility with understanding and love. "LOVE??" Was the response.

As we continued talking what we settled on is that when faced with aggression and anger, we have a chance to separate ourselves from the pack by responding in an understanding and respectful manor.  The more we talked the more certain I became that this approach can bring healing in conversation and relationship.

It is these times in our lives when someone is fully expecting a certain behaviour or reaction from you that you can rock someone's world by doing the opposite.

So my challenge for myself and I dare say for you, is to try an experiment. For the next week, when you are beseiged in a conversation instead of responding vigorously and defending yourself or going on the attack, say something like this:

"Wow, it sure sounds like you have a lot of frustration and anger around this."
"Are you OK?"
"Can you help me to understand what's going on for you to make you feel this way?"
"Is there anything I can do to help with this?"

So there, that's my challenge.  Try it out for a week and let me know what happens.  I'll try it more extensively too and let's share what we learned!

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