You know the drill. At any youth soccer game, there are three types of parents:
A) Those who don’t care how well their child plays or who wins. They just want to enjoy it all.
B) In the middle of the spectrum are the parents who want to maximize the experience: Play hard, do your best, try to win, and either way, learn some lessons.
C) At the other end of the spectrum are parents who want one thing: Win – at all costs. (“Oh quit crying and get up! And what is that ref smoking?!”)
Business meetings are like this. Some people show up just trying to get to next weekend (don’t bother me.) Those in the middle are working hard and consistently searching for the best solutions. And then there are those at the far end of the spectrum who are convinced that the only way the company will succeed is if they convince everyone they’re right.
“All ideas count in this meeting,” the boss says. “Especially mine.”
Really? Then why are we paying all these salaries?
Ask your team to try this in the next meeting: Kick an idea or opinion into the discussion like you’d kick a soccer ball in a game. And then let it go. See where it goes. See if you can move it forward with a few more perspectives. Remain unattached to what happens to the idea, whether it dies or gains momentum. Allow your teammates to dribble it for a while. See what they can do with the ball.
Professional soccer players don’t hold the ball in their hands. Nor do successful leaders get possessive of their ideas. They also remember that it’s likely someone else will score with the idea they just passed on.
And the team wins.