The Authority

I was recently invited to speak to a group of undergraduate juniors and seniors studying communications.  Their question to me was in the spirit of how to build trust and interact effectively with colleagues, especially when those colleagues are older, more seasoned, and have more experience.  We talked all about asking good questions, about identifying those things important to their colleagues, about showing respect and about working as a team.  But, the elephant in the room of the conversation was the fact that all that good stuff – communication, collaboration, consensus-building, et al – takes time.  Sometimes time is not plentiful.  Sometimes what needs to happen is for a decision to be made. 

While it is critical to give others a voice in a work group’s initiatives, efforts, projects, etc. in order for people to feel a sense of ownership and buy-in.  Yet, relationships can also benefit from the strength of a capable leader to make a pivotal decision that allows a process to move forward.  It turns out that advancing opportunity may require direction from someone who people believe in.  That direction may be the rallying point to take an idea from “here” to “there.”

Do you have an idea that you want to advance?  What would you do to get to that final decision?  Understanding the time sensitivity of the idea, consider these tips from creativity wiz, Roger von Oech:

  1. Gather the information you have available to you
  2. Critically weigh the evidence
  3. Look for obstacles and drawbacks
  4. Run risk analyses
  5. Listen to your gut

Be the authority.  The decision is yours to make.

Happy Networking!

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