Fools to Think


We would be fools to think that our vision of how it should happen is the right, only, or best way.

You know that, of course. No matter how hard we try, some others will think what we are saying is bunk. This is true partly because it is (we can’t know everything), partly because the words we use will be misinterpreted, and partly because others already have their own models and tools that will work, too. When we try to get others to accept our vision of how it should happen, we will see them dig in their heels somehow. And the ensuing friction serves none of us.

Here is what we can do instead. First, let’s confirm that you and I have the same ends in mind. Then:

  • If I am to do the work, ask me for a commitment of what I will get done by when and let me figure out how. Maintain an open offer to help me if I need it. If I am wise, I will ask for your help as I need it. If you see me struggling, find a non-judgmental way to tell me I am.
  • If you are to do the work, I will do the above for you.
  • If we are both to do the work, I may start by asking you how you think we should proceed. I will only share my suggestions when I know that you know that I have understood your approach. You will do the same for my suggestions. And soon, we’ll be on the same page.

These small investments will pay huge dividends in reduced friction and better results.


In your corner,


2 thoughts on “Fools to Think

  1. I really liked today’s post because of how it encourages us as leaders to ask for a commitment and then trust enough to get out of the way. It encourages us as followers to make the commitment and meet it to reinforce the trust. Rinse & repeat! One thought, can we ask the person doing the work to check back in with us on the plan – if we’d like an extra level of certainty that the employee is on the right track?

    1. Oh, yes! A check-in plan would part of the “what by when.” When you ask for a check-in, you might explain why you’d like it. Examples: “Since I have to report to my boss on the progress of this project, can we set up a few check-in points?” “I am reforming micromanager. Instead of me putting my nose in all the time, can we set up a check-in point for my sanity?” “This project is quite fluid. We may need lots course corrections. Let’s set up some check-in points so we compare notes and adjust as needed.”

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