“IF the Sky is Falling, THEN I Recommend…”

MOST LEADERS eventually grow tired of “the sky is falling” approaches from team members. “OMG, you won’t believe what happened! It is soooooo bad! We are in real trouble now! What are YOU gonna do??”

And that’s before even describing what befell us all that brought things to the brink of ruin!

It didn’t take long for me to know that as a leader, “sensationalizing” was not okay. I much preferred to simply hear the facts without having “hot sauce” added to them. And frankly, it is almost always counterproductive to infuse the facts with an emotional characterization. It can become an immediate hurdle in the way of clear thinking and action.

As with most issues in leadership, if you want to change the behavior—change the system.

I found and adapted a model for getting thoughtful recommendations from the accountable person, as opposed to lamentations and more “monkeys” landing on my back.

The process is one of determining the best available solution under all of the circumstances. I call it the Thoughtful Solution System (“TSS”). [1] The emphasis is on a complete and thoughtful analysis and clear recommendations, to the decision maker.

It starts with the reporting or accountable person creating an outline of the facts underpinning the issue or challenge. Their role is to objectify, analyze, contextualize, consider, and then deliver, a single recommendation, if possible, and alternatives, if appropriate.

Through this process, the leader-decision maker, will not be bothered with histrionics a less than full picture of the situation, nor related asks along the way for confirmation of “Am I on the right track?” (A TSS doesn’t preclude a brief, in-process, check-in for efficiency, but it must be as complete as possible at the time.)

The accountable person must be able to affirmatively answer the question, “If you were the decision maker, would you be willing to sign off on what you’ve prepared and stake your credibility on being right?” If the answer is no, then it is not yet a complete, thoughtful, solution, and not ready to be recommended.

The implementation of a TSS, or a hybrid system customized for an organization, creates a common process and vocabulary for keeping the work and the decisions in the right hands, and creates a culture of thoughtful and orderly decision-making.

There are many such tools you can adopt and adapt as part of your “Leader’s Toolbox.” This is an example of the types of simple systems that Steve Chandler and I reference in our latest book.

~Will Keiper co-author with Steve Chandler of The Leader and The Coach–The Art of Humanity in Leadership https://tinyurl.com/bdfzffmr

#leadership #leadershipcoaching #businesscoach #coachingleaders #leadershipdevelopment #executivecoaching #leaderascoach

[1] The Thoughtful Solution System is based upon “The Doctrine of Completed Staff Work” memorandum drafted for the Provost Marshal General, U.S. Army, by Colonel Archer J. Lerch, Deputy Provost General. It was published in the January 29, 1942, issue of The Army and Navy Journal. https://govleaders.org/completed-staff-work.htm

The Leader & The Coach by Steve Chandler & Will Keiper
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