I really enjoyed listening to Daniel Pink’s newest book “To Sell is Human”, about the idea that most of us spend significant amounts of time doing non-sales selling. Or in other words, we are all in the business of pitching our ideas to those around us, trying to convince them of the merits.
One of his examples came from computer maker Dell’s consulting business. They had two main principles for how they work with clients:
have a bias for action
be easy to work with
As technical artists in the local church, we tend to have a reputation for saying “no” a lot. Being designed to solve problems, it can be really easy to solve those problems by picking apart someone’s idea to the point of not doing anything. This isn’t problem-solving, I would tend to call this problem-pointing-outing. Solving isn’t a part of this equation, you’re just telling people what won’t work.
This basically feels like the opposite of having a bias for action.
However, having a bias for action doesn’t mean that you say yes to everything. Not everything is doable or affordable. Engaging with an idea, diving into the details, asking questions, all with the intent to figure out a way is a bias for action.
To work on a solution together, given the boundaries and constraints, is part of what it means to collaborate. If you are always saying yes to every idea or no to every idea isn’t collaboration.
A few bosses ago, I had a goal to never say no to any idea he had. I would figure out a way for him to say no. I realize that it sounds sneaky, but it turned me from always being the one saying no, with a bias for inaction, to the person who was engaging with the ideas and helping to come up with a doable solution…a bias for action.
Are you characterized by action or inaction?
Are you just pointing out problems or are you a problem solver?
We’ll tackle this second principle, “easy to work with”, in the next post.