The Halfway Designed Process

There are times when we get wrapped up in our own brilliance. It is the “I figured it out” sensation. It feels good to see a problem and solve it, especially when the answer wasn’t immediately obvious. But unless the problem is completely isolated in its form, say a math problem, then it is dependent on the individual.

Every person is unique. Some people try to downplay that truth while others make it a defining characteristic. Neither is right or wrong and being somewhere in between is perfectly fine as well. Knowing this fact helps with managing people. You have to take a step back at times and think about the angle others can see the problem.

I ran across a good advice piece in the Harvard Business Publishing site under the blogs called  Why Doing Things Half Right Gives You the Best Results by Peter Bregman. The idea being shared is how the design of a process or change in behavior must have the people who are expected to implement it be a part of the solution at some point. This is due to the different viewpoints. Here is an excerpt I think is representable:

Hiring someone new? Get the job description half right and then ask her: Why won’t this work for you?That’s a good point. So how can you change it to make it work? Then, when she answers, you respond:
She’ll look at you a little funny because, after all, you’re the boss
and you should be telling her what to do. Then you’ll just smile and
wait for her to answer and the two of you will redesign the job right
there right then. No better time or place to send the message that she
is accountable for her own success.

Delegating work to someone? Give him the task and then ask: Why won’t this work for you? Then, when he answers, you respond: That’s a good point. So how can you change it to make it work?

Here’s the hard part: When someone changes your plan, you might
think the new approach will be less effective. Resist the temptation to
explain why your way is better. Just smile and say Great. The drive, motivation, and accountability that person will gain from running with her own idea will be well worth it.

Working Thoughts 03/04/08

Money in the Bank


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