I have not spit any business advice in quite a while, but I received some input this weekend that hit me as extremely simple, relevant, insightful and valuable.
I have a friend who is a Six Sigma, black belt Ninja 🙂 for a fortune 300 company here in Michigan. My understanding is that his job is to dive deep into many different areas of the company, seek to understand, and then to offer insights and perspectives to improve those areas if he can.
When I asked him to give an overview of his process for trying to express an opinion, and improve upon, areas of a company that he may not fully understand…his answer struck me…
“I JUST LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE WHO ARE DOING THE WORK.”
He went on to explain that he has observed over the past 10 years that management can no longer take a top down approach to leading their employees. Today’s workers are educated and informed, and the best way to lead them is to simply ask them “What can we do, to help you do what you do, even better?”
By asking questions like this and others, and by genuinely trying to inspire and serve the workers he is tasked to help improve, he earns their respect and trust…and can get things done! In contrast, he believes he would be a complete failure if he simply observed an area, made notes, and then told these folks what HE thought they needed to DO. That is the management style of the past, that just doesn’t work here anymore!
Anyways, it was a great conversation, and I could go on for an hour. The bottom line is this…The only thing that is truly required of anyone in a leadership position, in business today, is to serve those you work with!