Many organisation’s keep decision-making tightly controlled at the top of the organisation. This seems to be based on leaders at the top believing they have a bird’s-eye view of what is happening across the organisation. The big picture. Is this really the case? Perhaps not so much.
To illustrate my point I raided my kids Lego. Many years ago I was speaking to a wise woman who pulled out a Lego person to explain perspective. She was talking in terms of the relationships people have. One person describes a Lego woman with short hair and flowers on her shirt. The other describes a Lego woman with a pony tail and a bow on her shirt. They both agree on red pants. Each person argues the other is wrong about the top. But they are both right. It’s all about perspective. One is describing the front of the figure, and one is describing the back.
From a leaders perspective, the view looking down can be pretty limiting. I can see a figurine of some description. Brown top. A hint of red. It doesn’t really matter. I’m the boss and I know my business. I don’t have time for this.
Employees at the bottom want to have their say too and want their voice heard. From lower down the view is also a little obscured. Figurine. Probably Lego. Brown hair? Purple top. Can’t see the red pants.
The point is, no one perspective gives you a well-rounded view. The leaders who make decisions successfully from the top have a way to collect perspectives and create a complete picture. There’s no point just talking to your leadershipn group. Their viewpoint is the same as yours.
In collecting perspectives people across the organisation are heard. And their people know it. You’re not going to get that unless your leaders are out connecting with the business, the people in it, and the people you serve (your customers).
Seeing perspective is one part of the tale. Hearing the narrative to complete the story is something else. Describing what the Lego figure looks like doesn’t tell us her name is Janine. It doesn’t tell us she has a Lego dog, a blue bike, enjoys visiting the Lego museum and is a master builder in her spare time. It doesn’t tell us she started life as a police officer and got “rebuilt” into a plain clothes detective. The narrative is where leaders craft the vision, the why, the reason for the decision, and the change that will come. The story doesn’t connect with Janine unless we know who Janine is and why she’s here.
Perspective and narrative. It makes for better decisions, greater connection to the journey, and greater buy-in. If you’re a leader and feeling like selling your decisions is like pushing a gelatinous substance uphill it might be time to raid the Lego drawer for a different view.
A Lego leadership tale.
What’s the view from the top look like in your organisation?