Use Number 32: Leadership and Deeply Dumb Ideas

As you come to know the people in your organization or on your team, you will be able to understand both what and how they think, but only if you make the effort. Investing your time wisely in this endeavor allows you to understand reach other because you are communicating on the same frequency.

If you learn to speak their language, you prepare the ground for conversations that can lead to mutual accountability instead of hostility. More often than I care to admit, I have an idea which, although it initially sounds reasonable, upon closer inspection proves to be deeply dumb. It might not rank with the Puffy Shirt, but might be a close call. When I ask people what they think of it, some will say the equivalent of: “You have my support for anything you want to do.”

While I appreciate their confidence and value their support, responses like that do not move us forward. I will often press them to tell me what they really think, and when they do, we typically have a much fuller and deeper conversation. It might result in my modifying the idea or dropping it completely, but in nearly every case it is a better outcome.


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