I write about the things that matter to me. All opinions are my own.

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Friday, April 18, 2014

"Because I Said So"




So I spent a week in supervisory training at my agency (The National Archives) and they taught us a really good thing: You've got to expose your mental models, your reasoning.

In other words, having the right answer is not enough. Doing the work yourself is not the job anymore.

Your job is to motivate other people toward a shared goal.

Sounds obvious, but here's the thing: Many leaders misunderstand what "shared goal" means.

It is NOT your goal that you share with the people. Rather it is "our goal" reached by consensus around what has to be done.

The way you get to "our goal" is to lay bare your logic: how you got from point A to point B.

In my group we're working toward our own shared goals. And I'm spending probably 50% of my time this week just talking to people about the reasoning. Then tweaking it according to their responses.

Yeah - that's the other thing. You get to "we" and "our" by adjusting what you've got along the way.

Many leaders fear being seen as stupid for not knowing all the answers. This is unfounded.

What employees really want is to be included in the process of setting out the goals, and also to help correct them - when incorrect assumptions or faulty logic has been used.

When the enterprise works according to rational logic - not "intuition," "gut feel," "my preference," or other arbitrary criteria - then everyone can put a stake in the ground.

Happy Friday and here's to building and rebuilding, from the ground up.

* All opinions my own.