Can Leaders Add Too Much Value?
Well that was fast. OK, let me expand. I attended a conference (invest in your own knowledge and education) where Marshall Goldsmith was the keynote presenter. These folks at the top of their game in the learning and self-improvement industry are amazing. So much to learn, so little time. As a coach, albeit more of an executive coach, he has identified a pattern impacting the success and ownership of ideas.
Leaders/Managers try to consistently add too much value. Huh?
Let me explain it with this example you have personally witnessed.
Someone on the team comes to you with an idea. You think it is a pretty good idea and will benefit all the company’s stakeholders (team, leadership, suppliers, customers, etc.). Since you like the idea you say something like this to the person:
“That’s a great idea and I think it will be good for the company”…
The person beams with pride…Then you add:
“Have you thought about including XYZ?” or something like that.
Harmless you think. In fact you think you are helping.
Unfortunately, here’s what happens.
You notice that the beaming with pride face goes away, the ownership of the idea transfers from them to you (because of the addition of your magnificent notion), the enthusiasm for the idea just dropped 50%.
The overall benefit of the idea might have gone up 10%. So as we follow the math, the idea might have gotten 10% better, offset by a 50% drop in enthusiasm. Not a good trade.
Instead of adding value then, let the idea develop. At this point, it is their baby. Let them run with it and support the ownership. Ask questions like, “How might this impact the current operation? How do you see the timeline to implement this? What could be the return on the investment? What sorts of training might this require? Who on the team is best suited to take on the leadership of this? What resources will we need to pull this off? What else have you considered about this that might be important for us to know now? Etc.
In every case, the ownership stays with the motivated team member and the process of implementation is driven by their buy-in. Once you have stepped aside and allowed the team to make the move you have, in effect, added to their desire. This is no small feat. This is what adds value to your company. This is what makes your business more attractive and more valuable to a potential buyer. Heck, you hired a team to make your life easier. Get out of their way!
Take action today to let your team drive new ideas and keep the fire in their bellies alive.
Now go Run a Lap! Business is Fun!
Tony Marder is a Gastonia resident and President of ASM Ventures Corporation. His clients are 2nd and 3rd generation family businesses that are ready to grow and make more profit. You can reach him for questions or comments at email@example.com