- On August 11, 2015
Ryan*, the team leader and project manager for an IT operations contract, knew he had to change the dynamics of his team. More experienced and with a higher level view than his technical staff, Ryan found himself often intervening with the solution when problems arose. He was beginning to feel burdened with always having to provide the answers and resentful that some of his staff weren’t stepping up to figure out a solution that took into account the impact on other operational systems.
The one simple thing he tried– he called it the 20-80—was to go last in meetings instead of trying to ‘save time’ by offering his solution up front.
The problem was explained by the system lead and then every person at the table contributed their view on a solution. Only then did Ryan add his take on it, often incorporating recommendations from around the table. Sometimes the problem solved itself just through the group discussion and he was merely giving his ‘blessing’ at the end. While it took a little longer this way, he found the benefits (the ‘80’) far outweighed the extra time (the ‘20’).
Some of the benefits resulting from this tiny change in Ryan’s behavior:
- Challenging people to think. Everyone was expected to weigh in, so everyone had to do their homework on the problem.
- Expanding understanding. From hearing each other and also from hearing how those parts would or would not impact the larger system.
- Buy-in on the final solution. Since everyone’s voice was heard, it seemed they were more committed to the outcome whether that included their recommendation or not.
- Patience and Listening. Ryan himself was challenged to engage in a more appreciative way with his team, and in so doing learned more about their thought processes, their expertise, and where they could use more development.
What small change could you make that would take 20% effort to yield 80% results?
*Based on similar client experience; real name not used.
Photo credit: Alexandru Nika II Shutterstock.com