…but don’t leave them there!
Jim Collins is credited with originating the statement, “Get the right people on the bus.” Many businesses and organizations have followed his advice and assembled a dream team of high powered, creative geniuses that drives their success. Their work environments are collaborative, the communication is two-way, and the organization has a vitality that permeates everything it does.
And then there are the “others.” These are the organizations that follow the advice of Jim Collins, John Maxwell, Ken Blanchard, Seth Godin, and other popular thinkers only to the point of implementation. That’s where they turn back to their old ways and the dream team is left sitting on the bus.
So, why do organizational leaders leave their “dream teams” on the bus? Here are a few reasons:
- Personal or organizational arrogance. They want to present the illusion that there is a collaborative environment, but don’t really believe anyone is a smart as they are.
- Intimidation. They know the people on the bus could become rock stars in their fields and their egos just won’t allow them to share the stage. They keep the dream team locked up on the bus so they can tap into them when needed and to keep competitors from gaining access to them.
- Backwards thinking. Many organizations that advertise their innovation are, at their core, old-fashioned and steeped in tradition. They really don’t want to change, they just need enough innovation to make people believe they are progressive.
- Insecurity. Many “power brokers” are Type A, high D personalities who rose to the top on the strength of their personality and their loyalty to the organization. They didn’t get there because they are the best qualified for the position. Therefore, they need ideas from people who are qualified. That’s why you are on the bus. You’ll know this is happening when you see your ideas being shared one-on-one with a supervisor rather than you being given the opportunity to engage in the decision-making process. Give it some time. Your ideas might come to life but they’ll be credited to someone else.
There are certainly many other reasons the best minds in an organization feel left out of the loop. These are just a few observations. So, what can the dream team do to open the door and get off the bus?
- Cultivate a tribe. Use the platform you have to build relationships with people who value your input and ideas.
- Create a plan B. If plan A isn’t working, use the platform it provides to create plan B. Eventually plan B becomes plan A and you will be in a position to make the contribution you know is possible.
- Contribute when given the opportunity. Every now and then, someone will come to the bus, open the door, and call for you to dispense a creative solution. Do the job you’ve been asked to do. Make a concerted effort to infuse the environment with the creativity and energy that have been locked away while you were in solitary confinement.
If you find yourself stuck on the bus and it doesn’t look as if anyone is going to open the door, use the emergency exit. You can get off the bus one way or another. Think about it!
Who is on your bus and how is your work enhanced by their contribution? Whose bus are you on and are you making a difference?