Posted on | June 25, 2010 | 1 Comment
As I have been helping a client build a business a very important ”skill set” has come to my attention. It is the “Art” of doing nothing. It is the feeling you get when your toddler is about to fall down after you told them ten times about the crack in the side walk and you think… ”Maybe this time I won’t say anything and they will learn”.
At this client we are working very hard in an entrepreneurial environment. We are creating a new business model, we are aggressively in the marketplace, we are on-boarding customers, having success & failure and everyone is working very hard to meet our targets and goals. We have thrown a global team of people together with loosely defined roles and asked them to do things that they might not be able to do, don’t want to do or simply can’t do, but everyone is giving it their best shot.
This brings me to the point… It is my responsibility to build the organization out as one of the founders and a key contributor to strategy and the overall business model. Everyone involved has great passion for the company, the industry and making an impact. So the other day as I listened in on our team trying to solve a very complex challenge around how to figure out what to do when and who should do what, I got my normal urge to walk in and try to start persuading them to do it “my way”. I stopped myself and sat back down in my chair.
Even though we are at a critical stage in the business and we are building toward specific revenue goals and solving this problem will help us accelerate progress quickly, I chose to do nothing! Why? Because we can not build a scalable business on the backs of a couple of people dictating what everyone should be doing and when. If we have the right people doing the right things they should be able to figure it out or get pretty close on their own.
The meetings got heated, the tension was building as I listened and the urge to jump in and provide a “solution” was insatiable. I let it go and spoke to some team members afterward and they looked like they had just completed the climb to the summit of Mt. Everest. I advised and mentored them and suggested that they re-group the next day and that we meet to discuss their solution the following day in detail.
The solution that was proposed was very close to what I was thinking might be the best approach to try. The difference is they came up with it on their own in the heat of battle. They are bought-in to the solution and dedicated to making sure that the execution of the solution is on target. It cost us one day of time in progress but we gained an invaluable amount of learning in the area of Teamwork and Communication.
It remains to be seen if the solution will work but I know that this team will continue to fight, think, create and execute with passion because they are empowered to do so in our environment and the rewards come back in customer satisfaction and progress toward our goals. This was a great light bulb moment for me.
The next time you think you have the answer… Stop! and do nothing.