several hands joined in a huddle | moments of truthBy Jim Coyle

This blog post first appeared on EOSWW on 9/26.

Lately, I have found that many of my clients are confused about what they really want from their teams.  They keep talking about the struggle they are having with getting agreement on their team.  They may say something like “my team is just not on the same page,” or “I need to build consensus with my staff,” but what they are generally saying is that they are struggling to get agreement.  When I hear this, my answer is always the same: you don’t need agreement, you need commitment.

Now don’t get me wrong, I think one of the essential roles of a leader is to get buy-in, or as we say in EOS® get the Vision shared by all (or SBA).  The problem lies in words like consensus or agreement.   Consensus Management does not work.  (When I have said this, I have had some of my teams envision some crazy dictator with an evil scowl on his face.) Great leaders set a vision and then get the team to commit to the vision.

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“Jim, wouldn’t be easier if I got them all to agree with the idea?”

“Absolutely, John,” I say.

“Then why wouldn’t I try to get agreement?” says John.

“Do you think the hard decisions that are needed will be made with this approach?”  I respond.  “Do you think you will build the best plan with everyone’s two cents as a part of it? At the end of the day, do you think your team will respect you more if are trying to get everyone to agreement?”

Let me answer this last one.  They won’t.  We all want leaders that are concise decision-makers.  They get the information they need, make a decision, and then build commitment, not consensus.

As Henry Ford famously said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”   Buy-in is important but lead your team.  Have the strength to ask for their commitment and not worry about creating agreement.  At the end of the day, it is the difference between creating an enduring company or just developing a faster horse.

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Nexus is growing. The interest in EOS continues to grow due to its power to transform companies, so we are adding EOS Implementers to our West Michigan team. We need entrepreneurs that would be great at coaching, teaching, and facilitating. Please reach out if you are interested or know anyone who is.