I once had an epiphany about my golf swing (once!). I was trying to control the swing too much. I thought if I took control it would stop me from sending the ball all over the place. So I doubled down on control.
A golf swing is a paradoxical thing. There are so many body gyrations. But once you have the grip and the posture and the alignment down pat, you just have to letter rip. Stiffening up works against you. When I learned this, my ball went straighter and further than I could imagine. (If I could only repeat it!)
As leaders, we like to control things more than we realize. We’re good at solving problems—it’s part of how we rose into leadership in the first place—so it’s in our nature when we see a challenge to solve it and then hand down the Changes necessary. Consciously or not, we think if we let our people in on the decisions, our Change might get out of control.
So we’re surprised when our ball ends up in the wrong fairway. “Fore!!” And we’re surprised when our Change isn’t adopted.
In this era of the Great Resignation, we need to stop trying to control some things. If we let our people think with us about the Change that’s needed—if we give up that control—we’re likely to get a much-more-grounded solution set, because our people know more about our business than we do (it’s true), and our people are likely to take ownership of the change and feel fulfilled (and stay).
We still need to execute properly—”shoulders back, eyes down, butt out”—but if our people are working with us…if it’s their change…they’ll take us further than we can imagine.
Let me know what you think…I look forward to being in touch.