This post is by Cy Wakeman, author of “Reality-Based Leadership: Ditch the Drama, Restore Sanity to the Workplace, & Turn Excuses Into Results.” For more information about her work, visit CyWakeman.com.
The past year ended with the majority of Americans issuing a resounding “NO!” to the leaders of our nation. In fact, the 2010 elections were hallmarked by the emergence of a new majority party in our political system: the “Party of No.”
While the country may be able to limp by for a few years with a focus on “stopping all action” and “thwarting any momentum” toward innovative solutions for our world’s greatest challenges, our nation’s businesses simply can’t afford the luxury — or the risk, for that matter — of employing even a few members from the “Party of No.”
In a democracy, the “Party of No” may be a great way to send a message of correction, but in business, it can be crippling. In a business, the “Party of No” easily becomes the party of stopping all action, wasting lots of resources, losing your competitive advantage and killing your culture.
Businesses are not democracies. To run businesses like a democracy is to assume that democracies are efficient, that they promote risk-taking and that they lead to the best decisions and outcomes. Democracies are not efficient — benevolent dictatorships are. Democracies are not the best model for businesses that wish to compete.
In fact, the total value of an outcome no longer seems to be derived from the decision being perfect, democratic, right or inclusive. A majority of the value comes not from what is decided, but instead from how it is executed. Great results can come from quickly made, decent decisions that are executed by amazing and willing teams.
For employees, it is easy to be against it all, provide criticism and absolve oneself of any accountability for making it happen. By opposing everything, employees can emotionally blackmail their leaders, who will find themselves in a position of begging for collaboration and approval, rather than setting direction and rallying willing resources around aggressive agendas.
Find yourself in a run-off election between the “Party of No” and the “Party of Yes”? You are responsible for which party wins in your organization. It is not a democracy. It is capitalism, and you can reward whichever beliefs and behaviors you believe will deliver your desired results. You are not at the mercy of an election; you are the decision maker.
Get honest with your team — not everyone will be involved in every decision and very few actually do have veto power. Vetoing an idea prior to trying it is resistance and unwillingness, which is not valuable to the organization. Help your employees understand that most often, their job is to deliver results, not opinions. We don’t add value by deciding what should be done; we add value by understanding what the organization needs to be successful, then figuring out how to deliver it.
“Parties of No” rarely become parties of future results. Businesses that support the “Party of No” will simply lose and end up with no innovation, no results and no profit. Leaders, if you want to succeed in the new year, work to form a great team of “Yes Sayers” who conserve their energy to implement good decisions and achieve amazing results due to their incredible abilities to risk-mitigate, adjust on the fly and use their expertise to deliver.
Image credit: SchulteProductions, via iStockPhoto.com