Byron's Babbles

Allowing Leadership

screen-shot-2016-10-10-at-12-44-07-pmLeadership lesson #16 from John Parker Stewart in 52 Leadership Lessons: Timeless Stories For The Modern Leader, told the story of Robert Townsend, CEO of Avis Car Rentals in the 1960s and 1970s. From reading this story and then getting his book Up The Organization (2007), I would say Townsend was ahead of his time in an error of command and control leadership. He broke decisions down as being either expensive (critical) or non-expensive (non-critical). His idea was that critical decisions take time to decide and should be handled by upper-leadership and the non-critical, less expensive decisions should be handled closest to the source affected by the decisions. This is very much intent-based leadership except that with intent-based leadership all information for decision making flows up from those affected.

“The whole organization may be out of business while you oscillate between baby-blue and buffalo-brown coffee cups.” ~ Robert Townsend

I love the example given that Townsend was reported to have said, “The whole organization may be out of business while you oscillate between baby-blue and buffalo-brown coffee cups.” In other words, decisions need to be made where they can most efficiently and effectively made. In other words, leaders need to intentionally and strategically think through who is in the best position to make decisions – both critical and non-critical. Doing this will give those in our organizations stronger sense of value, ownership in what is going on, and the sense of contributing to the organization as a whole.img_2265

Don’t get caught in the delegation trap. You’re busy doing everything yourself. You know you need help, but to find and train someone would take more time than you have. So you keep working harder until you break. In order to delegate effectively make sure your people know how you go about making decisions. This is also why have core values is important. If individuals are making decisions using the organization’s they are more likely to be in alignment. I also believe even making sure that the common values of the organization and myself are known by everyone is important. For example, I believe that making sure my blog posts are readily available to those in my organization is important. I encourage them to read my posts and send links often to particular posts because I want those I lead to know what I am thinking and what is important to me. I believe this helps them to make decisions that are in alignment with the vision and mission of the organization.

Next time you are making decisions think about whether you are the right one to be making that decision. Are you the one most impacted by that decision? If not, you probably shouldn’t be making it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: