I’ve met leaders who think consensus means team members must find their way to the same page. When that doesn’t happen, those same leaders choose to mandate the buy-in they seek. Perhaps there is a middle approach that both respects the people and moves things forward.
How might you move from “seeking consensus” to “building consensus?”* What might change when you present your thinking, listen to feedback, tweak where possible and keep the loop open throughout the process, all the while knowing the general direction you are headed? Think about it. Which takes more time – seeking consensus or building consensus? Which is more effective for your organization?
* Remember – people are more inclined to be on-board when they feel that they’ve been truly heard even when the decision isn’t the one they favour.
What do you feel when one of your competitors does something very well: envious, critical, curious, unlucky? Then what happens; do you rush out to duplicate their successful offering?
What changes if you look at a competitor’s success with the approach – what were they thinking? What happens if you look for the questions that led them to their discovery not just the mechanics of their idea? What might you discover if you continue to ask more questions as a result – questions about your products and services, questions about your customers and their needs, questions about the market, the community, the environment? What big discovery might you make when you start with your competitor’s best ideas?
I remember someone saying once: “Clients often don’t know they are satisfied until they are dissatisfied.” Isn’t that so true? We expend a lot of energy trying to keep our customers satisfied but often no time ensuring they recognize it. It’s a conundrum – trying to be humble and yet not being taken for granted.
What do you do to help your clients recognize the quality of service you provide? What one new thing will you start doing this week to imprint your value in their minds? How will you listen for their feedback?
It’s that time of year again. Thousands of college students are buzzing around looking for summer jobs. And many employers have a bunch of dull jobs all ready just for them. Okay. But don’t miss out on the gift of their untainted perspective on things. These kids are bright. These kids are the future. You’re going to need them tomorrow; why not listen to them today?
What if, in addition to the low level stuff your summer students usually do, you have each of them take turns shadowing employees throughout your organization, you included? What if you encourage curiosity and, in return, you ask for their candid observations? What will they uncover? What will they misunderstand? What will they criticize? What will they suggest? What will you do with it all? Are you prepared to see your organization’s future?
Simply, you can’t lead younger employees the same way you’ve led your middle-aged workers. Younger employees must feel engaged with their work, they need to own some part of their job and they have to feel their efforts are making a difference… somewhere, somehow. Sadly, they will quit if that’s not happening.
What must you change about yourself and about your organization’s culture to engage younger employees in ways that energize them, make them productive and keep them growing? Is there a specific project or responsibility you can give each of your younger employees where they will shine and contribute? What will you do to keep on top of their levels of engagement?
What’s your blind spot? Don’t know? Maybe the best way to figure that out is to look at your strengths. What leadership characteristic are you most proud of? Now think about how you might overuse it. Does your “take charge” approach ever become overwhelming to your people? Does your attention to detail gobble up time that could be spent looking ahead? Has your focus on supporting individual team members weakened accountability?
Can you name your own blind spot? Does overemphasizing what you are good at show up in a questionable way? How? Who will you talk with about your strongest attribute and its connection to your blind spot? Now what?