Leaders That Don’t Understand
Chris and Fred discuss ‘Leaders that Don’t Understand.’ And by ‘Don’t Understand’ … we mean they don’t understand what their organization sells or does. Sometimes this can work (within reason). Leaders who are not experts in their product or services can still be effective if they know that they need to listen to those around them. But this can go too far – if all decisions need to be collectively agreed by a large cadre of people before the leader in question agrees to make a decision. This isn’t leadership at all. The concept of having ‘everyone on board’ can decimate decision making speed, innovation and a focus on customers. Have you had a similar experience?
Join Chris and Fred as they discuss what it means when an organization who has a leader who doesn’t really understand the service or product their organization is trying to sell. There are some circumstances where this can work. Leaders who understand that they need to do some research to make the right decision at the right time can be immensely effective. But leaders who don’t know what their organization does (corporate knowledge) and don’t have the desire to learn can be toxic.
- Knowing to care. Leaders can’t be across all topics. But they need to know when to care, and what to care about. Leaders who never get out of their comfort zone and rely on their subordinates to make the case by convincing everyone else make it very difficult for people to innovate.
- … which leads to the concept of everyone being ‘on board.’ That is, if you have a good idea, you need to go and target key personnel, one by one, and convince them that your idea, document or product is worthwhile. This ultimately leads to a large ‘veto’ block, where it only takes a small number of managers to say ‘no’ for an idea to be derailed.
- Leaders who think they already know ‘it.’ This invariably involves ego. So to win the argument, you need to risk damaging his or her ego.
- Using numbers and not Weibull plots. Reliability engineers need to understand what leaders and managers are looking for. And then talk to them in that language.
- Decision paralysis. If you don’t know, you can sometimes fear failure. And fearing failure means not committing. And not committing means you don’t make a decision.
- … and risk based decision making on ‘imperfect’ data. We need to do this all the time.
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