Until you have experienced it yourself, it may be hard to understand the oft-repeated phrase “It’s lonely at the top.” But when you are the leader of an organization, department or even a small group, you realize how true that statement is. As CEO of our company, I knew this feeling all too well–until I changed my approach to leadership…
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”
– Helen Keller
My loneliness started to fade away as I began to adopt the Engage2Lead participative leadership style. And more importantly, my team became more motivated and engaged than ever before.
A key to motivating folks is to start doing things with your people, not doing things to your people. And one way of doing more things with your people is by including them in your decision-making process. I know, you’re thinking, “That’s easier said than done!” Take heart, my fellow leader, I’m about to share with you a tool for your leadership toolbox that will guide you through the whole process!
Every leader can have a culture where people thrive and profits soar by using the 1-2-3 decision-making tool.
What is 1-2-3?
1-2-3 is a unique approach to the decision-making process defined as:
At the very beginning of the decision-making process— AND before making a decision – the empowering leader seeks input from his or her employees. Such a leader asks:
1. Who can help me make a better decision?
2. Who will have to carry it out?
3. Who will be impacted by it?
How does it work?
The 1-2-3 process reminds you that before beginning to think about how to address a challenge, opportunity, a decision to make or to set goals you should ask yourself the three powerful 1-2-3 key questions.
In all of our journeys, we are constantly making decisions. To drift along doing what we’ve always done – and not to risk innovative approaches – in itself is a decision.
For the 1-2-3 decision-making process to work best, it requires discipline at several stages:
- Its use should be a way of life! You miss out on so much of the power of this process if you only employ it when it’s convenient, or when you happen to think about it.
- As soon as the need for a decision is recognized, the 1-2-3 questions can be addressed. If not, the initiator will tend to start making preliminary judgments that they may feel compelled to defend when the decision-exploring TEAM convenes.
Leadership Tip: I’ve learned to not write down any preliminary thoughts before a group meets so that I keep an open mind to others’ ideas.
- Instead of meeting individually (a key mistake) with those who come to mind in answers to the 1-2-3 questions, meet with them as a group and have an open discussion of the pros and cons of the matter in question.
Please note that after all of the pros and cons have been considered, the initiator still has to make the final decision. 1-2-3 is not decision by a committee.
How does 1-2-3 promote TEAMwork?
TEAMwork (successfully practicing communication, coordination, and cooperation) is a key factor in the maintenance and enhancement of our organization’s culture built on the strengthen drive for relationships and results.
I have observed that TEAMwork doesn’t come naturally (or easily) to most people or sub-groups. And I am convinced, though, that TEAMwork is absolutely essential to an organization’s success and the achievement of high levels of effectiveness and efficiency.
Before I sold our successful business in 2011, we incorporated the 1-2-3 process into our normal way of doing business. And it served as a simple reminder that encouraged us to work as a TEAM.
“Build for your team a feeling of oneness, of dependence on one another and of strength to be derived by unity.”
– Vince Lombardi
When you embrace Engage2Lead participative leadership and use the 1-2-3 decision-making process tool, you will never again feel, “It’s lonely at the top”!
How do you make decisions? Do you make decisions alone? What process does your organization use to promote TEAMwork when facing challenges, opportunities, making decisions, or setting goals? Please make a comment <here> and share this blog post with your friends and co-workers.