What Happens When Executives Aren’t Challenged?

I once worked with a CEO who loved to micromanage. He was incredibly sharp and could often arrive at the right answer faster than anyone else. His micromanagement was simply a way of moving things along faster. He told me he did it because “it helped move things along and no one wants to be stuck in a long meeting”.

The problem is that it completely killed the motivation by the rest of the team. Why would people go through the effort of thinking of solutions if the CEO will just tell them?

Executives need, more than ever, someone to challenge their thinking. It’s the same role the Vatican’s Miracle Commision plays as the Devil’s Advocate. 

It is too easy to get caught in the grandiose nature of our own ideas. Individually, it may not matter if we waste time working on the wrong things but organizationally, it matters a great deal. 

Look at all the airlines that were quick to lay off staff as travel restrictions took hold around the world. I would be shocked if no one inside those organizations raised the possibility of what would happen once restrictions were removed and if they would run into staff issues. No one knew how long it would be but travel would eventually rebound. When it did, these same organizations were caught flat footed and short on staff.

Ideas and strategy cannot be taken for granted. They need to be forged like diamonds, using the high heat of debate. Organizations need to create a culture where pushback is acceptable or risk creating a culture where cynicism breeds. 

The Vatican has been canonizing individuals for 2,000 years. Their process evolved over time but it has survived wars, disruption and hundreds of administrations. 

Organizations would be wise to note how ideas and decisions are challenged and molded internally. We all need a devil’s advocate in our lives.

How will you challenge your (and your team’s) thinking going forward?

P.S. If you're thinking of making bigger decisions at work or in your personal life, get in touch. I can show you how to increase your impact in dramatically less time (and effort), all in 30 - 60 minutes.

Plus, whenever you're ready, here are three other ways can make superior decisions and make an impact in the world. 

1. Help your team level up your ability to make decisions through frameworks and cutting edge ideas. Learn more about my training and workshops.

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