“It’s lonely at the top” is a comment you have heard from leaders. Are you really leading if you are alone, in isolation? There was a time that I was the lonely guy at the top of the organization. Eventually, I learned three powerful questions that helped me lead more effectively by tapping the potential of my team.
Helen Keller said, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”
I’ve mentioned before that the key to motivating folks is to start doing things with your people, not doing things to your people.
One way of doing more things with your people is by using the 1-2-3 method for decision-making.
So what is 1-2-3?
1-2-3 is a decision-making process defined as:
When facing a decision each of us should first ask three key questions, and based on the answers, appropriately involve others in the decision-making process. The three questions are:
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, or decision, you should ask yourself the three 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.
Will you consider learning this unique approach to decision-making?
To work best, 1-2-3 requires discipline at several stages:
- Its use should be a way of life! You miss out on 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 which 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 the group meets, so I keep an open mind to others’ thoughts.
- Instead of meeting individually (a key mistake) with those who come to mind in answer 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.
1-2-3 Promotes Teamwork
Teamwork (successfully practicing COmmunication, COordination, and COoperation) is a key factor in the maintenance and enhancement of our organization’s progressive culture.
And considerable research has shown that teamwork doesn’t come naturally (or easily) to most people or sub-groups.
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 business, we developed and incorporated the 1-2-3 process into our way of doing business. It served as a simple cue 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
What process does your organization use to promote teamwork when facing challenges or opportunities, or making decisions? The answer to that question can assure you will never be “lonely at the top”!