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What is a marker of high performing leadership ? Creating a space for facilitation over friction. Also known as, Get Out Of The Way !

The protean CEO…

The omnipotent Project Manager…

Do they sit in their star chamber, mulling strategy carefully, formulating, and then issuing orders ?

The best do not spend a lot of time that way.

When asked what his most important leadership skill was, Google’s Chairman Eric Schmidt replied immediately “reducing friction in operations”

What an amazing and simple leadership lesson.

How does he do that ?

Immediate action. He receives an email. He immediately answers it or forwards it for action by a member of his team. When he takes part in meetings, he invariably concludes them by focusing on action items, and what he can do to immediately initiate or help them.

In the parlance of Seth Godin, Eric Schmidt is always SHIPPING.

Eric Schmidt and the other leadership at Google have set out to intentionally create a HUGE company that is also agile. They have carefully built interconnected teams of people who are in the business of action. As circumstances, ideas, and decisions percolate they are immediately reviewed and progressed.

For some processes, that progression may be to arrive at a decision of “no”.

And here’s a secret: Arriving at, and delivering a definitive no is as critical as getting to yes, and then immediately taking action.

It’s good to receive a leadership lesson, but what is your takeaway here ?

Don’t get caught in circuits of decision making. Action is required. Of course it is appropriate to make well reasoned decisions, and to precede action with planning. The key is to make the plan, and then take the action. Consider the decision, and then make it. Establish a priority of enabling your team to continue to move and make.

Today’s challenge: What process, decision, or plan can you move from stuck to moving ?

Pick one, and get it done.