Ep68: Platitude Smackdown

30 minutes

Business platitudes: they aren’t wrong, but they also aren’t right. And they annoy Jodi.

So let’s talk about them!

Why is that important for business?

There are many business platitudes around leadership – how many leaders there should be, for instance. Even Mark Twain said, “the perfect committee is made up of three people, two of whom are dead.” (Or at least Eliot insists he said it. Google isn’t as certain.)

But if you have the right people around you, you should value their input based on merit, not based on equity. The problems that people are attributing here to leadership clichés are actually an issue of lack of clarity, either in vision or priorities - it isn’t inherently a problem with the number of leaders.

It is clarity, not equity, that matters.

One of those things to begin to have clarity around is deciding, for each area of business:

  1. Who is in charge or/responsible for this area?
  2. Who needs to be consulted around decisions?
  3. Who needs to be informed of decisions?

These are the three things that tend to get people upset. They don’t always need to feel as though they have a vote, but they usually want to know or be consulted about the issue.

But problems occur with any amount of leadership. And the issue with these platitudes is that they tend to shut down discussion and dilute the importance of collaboration in favour of certainty. Instead, having more than one or a complex leadership structure just introduces a new set of questions to think about, and an opportunity to tailor-fit your own solution. Accepting the platitude as truth takes someone else’s answer and pretends it’s yours.

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