When was the last time you pounded your fist and asked the simple question that plagues many in a position of leadership, “How come common sense isn’t common anymore?” When I did a search for statistics on common sense, I found this great quote:
“I’d say that even many experts often have no intuition at all when it comes to probability, which will lead them to miss huge conceptual errors in their calculations.”1
Rise above the status quo in leadership
While we often aren’t very scientific in our approaches to leadership, our perspectives can be skewed by our assumptions if we do not build safeguards into our patterns of thinking. In science, you pose a theory and then set out to disprove that theory in order to demonstrate whether or not it is true. You prove that you are right by doing everything in your power to disprove yourself.
In leadership, whether intentionally or subconsciously, we tend to stamp all of our theories as fact based upon our subjective experiences rather than objective measures. This is similar to the way many companies, large and small, calculate their productivity and profitability. In all three areas of common complaints by those in a position of leadership (common sense, productivity and profitability), we are quick to decry the efforts of others while overlooking our own responsibility to create objective measures.
Have I as a leader developed clarity in the goals, consistency in training, and accountability to the achievement of the vision?
Stop putting out fires and start preventing them
Back to the opening quote on common sense and statistics, let’s break this down a bit. What does the author mean by, “No intuition at all when it comes to probability”? They go on to discuss staticians who mindlessly apply the formula. In thought leadership, this is the equivalent of taking some popular meme or quote and running with it as a quip to solve all issues.
In the status quo of leadership, we chase our tails putting out fires rather than addressing the sources of the fires that plague our progress as an organization. In the statement, “I guess common sense isn’t common anymore,” we put the blame on the ground level technician for perceived poor performance, rather than stepping back to understand that an organization is responsible for developing the commonality of what is sensible for their team.
What would happen in my organization if I were to stop blaming others, and lead by example that I am responsible?
Recognize and learn from your mistakes
The author states, “huge conceptual errors in their calculations.” Again, not to assume that any of us are strictly scientific when we approach leadership, but I know I have been guilty of “huge conceptual errors.” I was so grateful to Lex Sisney, author of Organizational Physics, for joining me on my podcast to discuss his uniquely scientific approach to scaling your business.
Something we discussed was one of my leadership errors in assuming that everyone was like me and would want to help me develop a system of scaling operations. What I discovered was that not everyone wants to build the system; most are more than willing to help improve the system, but few are organizational architects. My assumption had to be adjusted to discovering what made each individual tick, and finding roles wherein each could thrive.
How can I more intentionally apply these principles to my organization to achieve better outcomes in accomplishing our goals?
Coach them up or coach them out
When you treat others the way you would want to be treated, this is called the Golden Rule. You deal with them as individuals. A beautiful thing can happen where you understand more about yourself, as well as where you fit best in the needs of your team, and you empower others to do the same.
In a recent video put out by The DYOJO, we break down the cognitive dissonance associated with common sense. We used the example of a manager, upset that a technician did not strap down a piece of expensive equipment in a property restoration company, as a springboard to understanding where the cause of these production issues originate.
As a leader, when you are frustrated by some action from your team, take a step back and walk yourself through how you arrived at this moment. Can you say that the onboarding of employees sets clear expectations followed by consistent training to develop the mindset and habits that will lead team members to success? Is this a moment that reveals some opportunities to improve your process or a moment where an individual needs to be, as Klark Brown of the Alliance of Independent Restorers says, “Coached up or coached out”?