Ditch the Rose-Colored Glasses: 5 Smart Reasons to Hire Pessimists

August 7, 2017 in HR Best Practices




Debbie Downers.

Prophets of Doom and Gloom.

Do they bring your food & beverage organization down – or catapult it forward?

People who see the glass as half-empty – and leaking – aren’t simply negative; they’re forward-thinkers who:

  • question the status quo;
  • ferret out new problems to solve;
  • can make your food & beverage organization more innovative and resilient.

Without a practiced eye, however, it can be difficult to distinguish between someone who is a pessimistic (yet strategic) thinker and a toxic employee. While both types of individuals are critical, here are a few essential characteristics that, according to renowned HR thought-leader Dr. John Sullivan, make “Glass Half Empty And Leaking” employees (or GHEALs, for short) extremely valuable to your organization:

  • They assume there are hidden problems to address in almost everything. Tools, current food & beverage products, technology and market conditions change. As a result, your organization must continually evolve to thrive. GHEALs are continually vigilant, looking for new problems early enough to develop solutions and identify new opportunities. Their tenacity and big-picture perspective drives them to continually raise the bar in your organization.
  • They ask tough questions. When it comes to strategic issues, professionals who are merely negative are not likely to speak up – simply because they don’t care. Innovative (albeit pessimistic) thinkers take the time to look for hidden downsides and pose thoughtful questions to benefit your organization.
  • They shine a spotlight on upcoming obsolescence.  GHEALs aren’t satisfied with success. They look around the next corner to identify changing consumer preferences, competitive threats and technological advances which will render your food & beverage products obsolete. By keeping their eyes on the horizon, they start looking for better, disruptive replacements before anyone else.
  • They raise the bar. Pessimists don’t bring their teammates down; their high performance makes them role models within your organization. By encouraging others to adopt a glass-half-empty-and-leaking perspective, they inspire critical thinking and instill a sense of urgency in teammates.
  • They are talent magnets. High performers want to work for innovative food & beverage organizations. GHEALs are beacons that highlight the new concepts, technology and products propelling your organization; by their very presence GHEALs make your organization more attractive to top talent.

Final Thoughts

Surrounding yourself with people who agree with your opinions and decisions may be comfortable, but it’s also dangerous. For your food & beverage organization to thrive in today’s volatile, uncertain and rapidly changing environment, you need people who challenge you, share different viewpoints and pose “what if” scenarios to identify opportunities and threats.

As the nation’s leading food & beverage executive recruiter, Kinsa Group has developed proven search and assessment processes to weed out “yes men” and deliver innovators, strategic thinkers and GHEALs who will ensure your organization’s long-term success.