I recently listened to Seth Godin’s latest podcast Creating the Conditions for Change. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Seth’s work, he is a world-renowned blogger, best-selling author, entrepreneur and speaker. For years he has been trying to inspire people by teaching them how to level up their game in order to have the impact they desire.
His thought-provoking ideas have changed the way many people think about marketing and leadership. Seth firmly believes that leaders need to honor their peoples’ time because it’s a precious commodity that should be prioritized. If people are going to do great work, they need time to do it.
Seth challenges leaders to think about the meetings they hold and to consider looking at these gatherings differently. He defines a meeting as:
“Somebody in the organization who has power, insisting on people coming together, so they can tell these people what they need to do or to share information with them .”
Rather, he challenges leaders to do the above only when it’s absolutely necessary. Seth believes it’s the leaders role to facilitate important conversations that bring people together to learn, share, and contribute. It’s not about the leader being the only knowledge authority in the room. What he says is this:
“Our gatherings should allow for people to engage with one another, go back and forth, learn from one another, and share.”
Leaders can learn a hell of a lot from those who they lead if they zip it and listen.
Of course there are times when leaders must share information, but the first thing they should do is assess just how important the message is. If it’s not an absolute priority, Seth implores leaders to send the message in a memo rather than talk at their people.
Creating the conditions for this type of culture in the workplace allows people to know that they matter. It reinforces that their time is respected as is the contribution that they bring to the organization.
It also shifts the sole responsibility of being the only knowledge authority in the room off the leader's shoulders and let’s people know that they all play a very important role in the vision and direction of the organization.
If you are a leader who is responsible for bringing people together, how do you ensure that your gatherings are more of an 'engage and interact style' rather than a 'sit and listen style'?
Thanks for reading.
KAUST Faculty, Pedagogical Coach. Presenter & Workshop Leader.IB Educator. #RunYourLife podcast host.