Every decision about you and your opportunities is made in a room you’re not in.
Yes, I know. If you’re a regular reader, you’ve heard me say this many many times. Why? Because it’s true and I see people forget this simple point ALL the time. I’ll follow this up with the following.
“If this is true, it is, then the first question you should ask is, am I part of the consideration set?”
For individuals, we then have a more extended conversation about how to lay the groundwork to make sure the room knows they’ve put their virtual hand-up and how to make sure someone in that room knows how their brilliant brain could be useful solving the problem at hand.
I believe that people need to take agency in the conversation about them. But, I also believe the room could think about how they’re approaching the distribution of opportunities. As a leader, your responsibility is to make sure you’re selecting the right person or team. I’ve been in the “room” many, many times. I’ve made decisions and watched others make decisions. I think we’re missing out.
We’re missing out because of pervasive assumptions. Assumptions from both the leadership and individual perspective. These assumptions might not be accurate for you, but I challenge you to consider them. As a leader, your most important role is to identify the best person to solve future needs.
Myth #1 — The right person will raise their hand if they want an opportunity. It’s their responsibility to make themselves known.
Myth #2 — Because you offer someone an opportunity, it means they will say yes.
Myth #3 — People will ask for opportunities if they’re qualified to do them.
Myth #4 — People readily volunteer for opportunities when the certainty of success is unclear.
Myth #5 — Telling someone they didn’t get an opportunity is harder than not offering up their name for consideration in the first place.
Myth #6 — Your ability to make a case for someone is enough.
Myth #7 — You are always in the room when people are talking about your team.
Myth #8 — You can remember who wants what future all the time.
Myth #9 — It doesn’t matter if the details about an opportunity are ambiguous; the right person will raise their hand.
Myth #10 — If your team member gets the opportunity, the adventure is over.
I’m curious, did any of these resonate with you? Did any of them give you pause on decisions you’ve made in your past? I know they did for me.
The one thing I repeatedly hear from people is the desire for transparency in decision making. “Why did person X get the opportunity?” “What is it I need to do, so you choose me next time?”
I know these questions don’t have simple answers. But maybe a conversation with your team about the beliefs that rang true to you might open up the conversation. Better yet, it might open up a discussion about the myths that are true for them too.