Somebody's got to be in charge.
--Quote from random assertive people everywhere
My good friend Tim Sackett had a post earlier this week on The Cancer of Speaking Up. Go check out that post, because I immediately had flashbacks to grad school where we worked in teams on business cases. A big part of those business cases was creating position papers and presentations as work product. Because it's grad school, it's the educational sector and because we were all equals on that team, we had some hiccups.
Imagine 5 people huddled around a laptop, all with an equal voice. The problem wasn't so much that everyone had ideas, it was that differing personalities valued different things as part of the process. That meant that at times we got derailed by little details that we didn't have time to debate.
Yep - you guessed it! The high details person wanted to talk about comma placement (which is opinion-based, you high detail freaks!) and conjunctions.
Which made me want to address that person in the following way the next day - "What's up, freak?"
We were editing grammar in real time rather than dealing with big ideas and doing the grammar/punctuation scrub later on.
The biggest lie the devil ever told us is that everyone should have an equal voice. Feedback and idea generation is great, but there comes a tipping point when you have to get shit done. At that point, someone has to be in charge.
Our goal as leaders should be to involve people enough to be inclusive, but have a process where we don't get paralyzed by the very average ideas or focus points of others.
If you need help with involving everyone but protecting yourself vs the time it takes to deal with bad ideas, I've got three things for you:
1--Never create work product with people huddled around a laptop or looking at a screen. Put someone in charge to create the first round, then send it out for feedback. I'm still amazed how many teams are create work product in the aforementioned way.
2--If you have a need to do idea generation/brainstorming but want to run the session in an efficient way, see these tools I've written about in the past as a part of Change Agile.
3--If you're goal setting with a team member and you want them to give you ideas on what their goals should be, use this 3-step process I've done videos on in the past.
Remember - the concept of every voice matters is a good one. But don't let that participation prevent you from getting things done.