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As a leader or entrepreneur you will encounter many naysayers. Colleagues, shareholders, friends, family or members of the general public who will be resistant to your business ideas.

Their caution may be due to fear and a different appetite for risk. They may not be up for the rollercoaster ride of starting a business, new product or service. And they may project their discomfort on to you.

Or they may have legitimate objections given their different assumptions and lived experiences based on a different set of values, norms and standards.

The naysayers may also have superior knowledge and connections which give them better insights into the likely success of your idea.

In our book, Humble Crumbles: Savouring the Crumbs of Wisdom from the Rise and Fall of Humble Pie, Paul O’Donnell and I explore his mindset and blind spots, which are common to many entrepreneurs.

He had made commitments to his family and early backers when starting up his retail pie business. It had become his baby and he felt he needed to defend it against criticism. Further he felt it was a betrayal to his positive mindset and a sign of weakness to consider that his business plan might not work. And driven by a fear of failure he persisted longer than he might have, had he asked himself, ‘What if I’m wrong’. That reluctance also meant that he hadn’t given a lot of attention to exploring a Plan B.

Faced by many obstacles you will need to guard against becoming stubborn and defensive vs having robust conviction that you continually monitor and test.


Questions for reflection:

Are you treating your business idea like your ‘baby’?

How do you test your ideas?

How do you discern between being stubborn or having a robust conviction?

Who do you turn to for  impartial advice and experience?


If you would like to discover your blind spots and  improve how you respond to naysayers  let’s have a conversation. Call me on my mobile +44 (0) 7952 068133 or send a note to


Insights from the book "Humble Crumbles: Savouring the Crumbs of Wisdom from the Rise and Fall of Humble Pie" by Sylvana Caloni and Paul O'Donnell

And if you are curious about our book you can see reviews and testimonials. It is available on Amazon worldwide.



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