A Leader Should Expect More

One of the most powerful forms of motivation is when a leader expects more; more investment, more creativity, and more results. Like when a young person joins the Marine Corps – the day they step on the bus they know there is a high standard and with no further training or explanation they “up” their game. Such is the power of expecting more.

In my 25 years in industry I have seen a great deal of time and resources wasted in team meetings processing decisions. Many people will argue that meetings are the single greatest waste of resources among knowledge workers. I think you should expect more. How you get the “more” out of a meeting is what leaders DO.

Often, I see groups spending time talking around the table about alternatives and personal interests and positions. Then the team notices that time is running out and it’s time to decide. Someone presents their favorite, someone else another, and then it’s time to vote. The vote takes place, modifications may occur, and the team calls it a win when everyone has a decision they can live with. A leader is responsible to identify what work needs to be done, lead effective problem solving, then implement the heck out of the decision.

Business performance improvement is built on a healthy sequence of good decisions supported by the decision-makers’ team members. Good decisions come from good thinking, and the ability to solicit, consider, compare, and select good ideas. If you want to get more out of your meetings a leader will learn and employ tools to facilitate effective and efficient decision making.

A leader will focus on two dimensions of deciding and decisions. The impact of decisions comes from the combination of two components:

  1. The decision itself – selected according to how it fulfills the goals of an initiative. A leader must have tools like a decision matrix in their kit bag that allow them to lead productive dialogue and develop conversation that generates new knowledge. Productive dialogue requires the presentation of different points of view and substantiation with data when possible. Leaders know how to create an environment where a challenging issue can be brought to the group, clarify where and how people see things differently, and while minimize distracting personality issues. This is how leaders promote the learning necessary to consider and select a great alternative.
  2. Support from the decision-makers about implementation. The trick here is to catch energy and commitment from the wonderful principle “people support what they create.” Done well, creative process uses structured steps that allow the participants/implementers to both consider and select the alternatives so everyone walks away saying “the idea was mine” – or at least feels this level of commitment to the decision.

Tools help teams make and support great decisions. A leader will get more DONE when they develop skills to facilitate these two dimensions for decision making. This sort of improvement in meeting effectiveness has a clear motivational impact on the people in attendance.

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