The title of this post is a bit odd, I know, but stick with me here.... I was working with a client on a talent assessment. As part of the assessment, I met with each of the senior leaders one-on-one to discuss their team members. I had done this with the same client two years earlier and I sent out clear instructions and forms ahead of time.
Two of the executives decided to do things a different way. They changed nearly everything and presented me with their information, based on their reinvented system, when we met. The two executives used completely different approaches, too, not the same different approach.
On the one hand, this is a pain in the neck. I needed to create a report and results and somehow make their information work with the rest of it.
On the other hand, this was wonderful! Both of the two executives were totally engaged in the talent assessment process and they used this opportunity to better get to know their team members and have good developmental conversations. That's what we want to have happen during a talent assessment. And although the process I laid out could have resulted in the same or better level of engagement, it was because they OWNED the process and did it in the way they wanted that felt fueled to do the work.
The two executives who did not comply got the most out of the process. It was a bit more work for me to bring it all together but it was work well worth the time because the by-product was better developmental conversations between leaders and team members. I thanked them for their great work.
This got me thinking.... How often do we squelch ownership by forcing particular processes and forms on people? Even the BEST processes might not be as good as the clunky processes that they initiate.
Management is not about control anymore - that is so 1950s. Great management is a catalytic act.