Enlist Others

Welcome to the fourth of our six blog series—“Productivity: Making Results Happen!” Our mission is to offer you simple ideas that when tested in day to day work, will provide you with some new insights, new ways to see your own performance and the performance of others and new ways to make a difference as a leader.

Ultimately, our aim is that this enables you to achieve enhanced results in the face of any circumstance.

  • Simple idea #1 was, “Actions Produce Results”. Results are a direct effect of actions which includes no actions. If you want different results, you have to take different actions. “Leadership is action, not position” --Donald H. McGannon.
  • Simple idea #2, “Speaking and Listening are Action”. How you listen and how you speak are the main ways to exercise leadership. “One of best ways to persuade others is with your ears.”
  • Simple idea #3: “Choice is power”. Yes and No has power. Direct and tell when appropriate and provide choice when a challenge demands inspired actions. When people say “Yes”, the world of possibility opens up.

Simple idea #4: “Enlist Others.”

“I don’t believe in just ordering people to do things. You have to sort of grab an oar and row with them”—Harold. S. Greneen

How do you get people to say yes while simultaneously giving them choice and therefore ultimate ownership? By showing them the benefit of “yes” to them. People will enlist when what they are being asked to generate, create or do is consistent with what is IMPORTANT to them—as business professionals and/or as human beings. They also want to be part of something that includes others. We are social beings. We thrive on interaction and integration. Think about it-- new ideas more often than not come from a collective conversation with others. It’s what’s happening in the white space between us that something new emerges. In the world of command-control, the leadership model is organized around a leader coming up with a direction and directing others to make it happen. Even when the best of us have what we call brainstorming sessions, oftentimes it still ends up with a leader or strong personality directing others and maneuvering the thinking of others. Consider the possible transformational approach of starting with a commitment or a vision or an aspiration or even a half-baked idea and throwing it out in a conversation to see what emerges in the thinking of others.

Rather that focus on the nuts of bolts of what to do—look to see if you can start with gathering a diverse group and tossing out ideas that are mere possibilities or simply nuggets of thoughts and then step back and allow others to create and brainstorm what has not been thought before. Extraordinary performance and unpredictable results are directly correlated to collaborative conversations. Why do we tend not to do this? Fear and impatience. End of story. Fear of not getting somewhere fast. Impatience to quickly get an answer. It is the confluence of ideas, building on each other’s expressions that allows for something unexpected, unimaginable and unbelievable.

Years ago in the cold North Sea, a group of stalwart engineers racked their individual brains to solve a problem—a problem that existed since the beginning the industry – how to significantly reduce construction costs to make marginal fields economical. One person asked a large group to get together—started the meeting wearing old fighter pilot goggles (like Rickenbacker) and said “we will solve this problem.” And they did! It was not his brilliance, but the brilliance of a collective force.

Here are some easy steps to getting a Yes—as a choice.

  • Connect with others—transcend the fear
  • Share what’s important to you and find out what’s important to them
  • Allow them to involve themselves
  • Make requests
  • Get a committed response

Engagement, choice, connecting the dots to what’s important to all and having a game worth playing inspires people to perform beyond even their own expectations. Making results happen is a group sport. It may take one leader to start, but it takes others to make it happen.

Simple idea #4: “Enlist others”

Now that you have new thinking and even new ideas, what do you do with it to turn it from possibility into reality? Look out for Making Results Happen—Part 5.

More to come!