11 years, 23 days ago

My 20-60-20 Rule of Leadership

Link: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/TheBusinessArchitect/~3/OC3kWMu1KNA/

I spent the majority of my corporate career leading areas like innovation, architecture, strategy, and merger integration that required influencing those who didn’t directly work for me. I didn’t get much education in this area. For the most part, I learned how to influence others through trial and error. Though to be honest, it was mostly error. Through the years, I came up with a number of techniques and rules-of-thumb that seemed to work consistently for me. One of those rules I call the 20-60-20 rule and it works like this:

Twenty percent of the people will follow you if you just pick a direction and go. Some of this group will share your passion and resonate with your vision. Others just want direction. They aren’t picky, any direction will do. These people are in search of a leader and are happy to follow when they see one. It is fun to hang out with both groups. They are positive, engaged, and encouraging. They make you feel good about what you are doing. And when you are struggling to move an organization forward you don’t feel good much of the time. But . . .  you shouldn’t spend too much time with this group. They are onboard. They just need a little encouragement from time to time to keep them engaged. You need to put your energy elsewhere.

Sixty percent need to be convinced you know what you are doing. They aren’t being negative, they just don’t intuitively resonate with your vision. They need you to make it concrete, to show them why it is good, to clarify their role and the benefits they will gain by following you. With this group once is not enough. They are going through a learning process and you are the teacher. You have to find the learning style that works best for them and repeat, repeat, repeat. Even after they buy in, it takes a lot of work to keep the momentum up and ensure they stay onboard.

The last twenty percent would rather go to Hell than go with you. Why? Because you are too young to know anything. You are too old to know anything. You are not charismatic enough and everyone knows you have to be charismatic to be a good leader. You are very charismatic and everyone knows charismatic leaders are shallow thinkers. They have a better idea or they don’t have a better idea but are positive your idea is terrible. It really doesn’t matter and it is rarely logical. They are just not going to go with YOU! This group is a huge time sink. Get over it and don’t waste your energy here.   


The bottom line:_______________________________________________________________________________________________

Influence is the essential skill you need to succeed in any environment – work, community, home – it doesn’t matter – you need to be able to influence others. Most people spend the majority of their time on the 20% that are already sold because it feels good and the 20% that will never be sold because they seem like the biggest challenge. The 60% in the middle are the big opportunity. That is where your energy should go.