Blog

Information Underload: What Are You Missing? post image

The higher you grow in the organization, the more you work in sound bites. Process fast to look smart. Draw conclusions where others see only questions. Conclude with conviction. Make decisions and move the process along. Ask your team to “net it out.” You don’t need all that detailed information. Or do you?

The devil still basks in details.

“It’s entirely possible that you can process and file more information than anyone who has come before you. And quite likely that this filing is preventing you from growing and changing and confronting the fear that’s holding you back.”
~Seth Godin, “I Get It

Beware of Information Underload

Resist the urge to look smart. Stop filling in the blanks with lack of understanding. Don’t micromanage. Do get smarter.

Don’t assume

  • you know the type (she’s not “high-potential”)
  • the market won’t react well (it didn’t last time)
  • customers will hate it (they don’t like change)
  • this project won’t work (because a similar endeavor failed)
  • the union will resist (because they always do)
  • senior management won’t go for it (because it seems too risky)

It’s Not What You Know, But How You Know

Asking well encourages truth. Asking well empowers.

Empowerment doesn’t mean working in the dark.

Your team has

  • details
  • opinions
  • concerns
  • weird data they can’t explain
  • conclusions
  • possibilities
  • wacky next steps

They’ve likely been coached to “not go there.” “There” is exactly where you need to go. Make it safe to hear what you must. Build an environment where you hear what would otherwise be left on the editing room floor.

Some Ways

  • Show up everywhere (kindly)
  • Ask questions that don’t feel like tests
  • Smile and laugh as needed
  • Express your genuine thirst
  • Do something with what you hear (without getting anyone in trouble)
  • Recognize the great work you see
  • Invite yourself in advance to working meetings and then listen

Empowerment happens in the daylight Shine bright lights, and be deliberate in your reactions. Question, encourage, invite, excite, grow, develop.

Only then, will you have enough information.

Filed Under:   Results & Execution
 
 
Karin Hurt
Karin Hurt
Karin Hurt, is CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders and a former Verizon Wireless executive. Karin was named on Inc.’s list of 100 Great Leadership Speakers for Your Next Conference, the American Management Association List of 50 Leaders to Watch, and as a Trust Across America Top Thought Leader in Trust. She’s the award-winning author of two books, Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results— Without Losing Your Soul, and Overcoming an Imperfect Boss. She’s regularly featured in business publications including Fast Company, Entrepreneur, and Inc.
 

Join The Conversation

What People Are Saying

Ali Anani (@alianani15)   |   18 June 2013   |   Reply

Karin- the title gave me different impression of the content of the presentation. I am amused by the high quality of what you wrote “They’ve likely been coached to “not go there.” ”There” is exactly where you need to go. Make it safe to hear what you must. Build an environment where you hear what would otherwise be left on the editing room floor”. This is one of the most creative statement I have ever read. Creativity is often defined as turning the familiar to unfamiliar and the opposite is correct. This definition of your opens new windows of thought.

Towards the end you wrote “Empowerment happens in the daylight”. Creativity is doing that in the darkness. This post does it because its brightness turns darkness into daylight.

letsgrowleaders   |   18 June 2013   |   Reply

Ali, Thanks so much for your very kind comments. I’m curious, what would you have titled this post?

Ali Anani (@alianani15)   |   18 June 2013   |  

Karin- this is a creative post. I would entitle it “How to make empowerment in the darkness?”

I do not want to sound as self-promoter. The title “Beware of Information Underload” is also extensible to information overload. So, why just highlight Underload? Information digestion is similar to food digestion. One of my most read presentations deals with this issue of information processing. It ties up nicely with your thoughts here and in fact reinforces them.

http://www.slideshare.net/hudali15/the-information-digestive-system