An Alternative to Hierarchical Leadership

English: From Left: Spc. Christopher Hickey, S...

These guys need a chain of command.  Your family probably doesn’t.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Every now and again someone goes on television to talk about how her husband is the head of her household and she loves that because it’s the only thing that makes sense. After all we only have one President, and the military works in a hierarchy so obviously that’s just how leadership works.

Normally I see these stories and roll my eyes or make yakking noises in the privacy of my own home. If I’m feeling really worked up, I treat my partner to a monologue on why comparing the management of a family to the management of the world’s largest economy is ridiculous.

I did all those things this time as well, but after I calmed down a bit it occurred to me that while some families choose a “decider” on purpose, others do so because uncertainty is almost as uncomfortable as conflict and designating someone to make all the decisions is a quick and easy way to minimize the discomfort caused by disagreements.

If you chose to run your family that way because it makes everyone happy, knock yourself out.*

If, however, you are defaulting to letting the loudest person in your house make decisions because you believe that’s the only way to avoid knock-down, drag-out fights that result in doing what the loudest person wants anyway, consider this alternative. Continue reading

Repost: The Baby Groundhog Guide to Organizational Decision Making

I wrote this post last summer, and while the groundhogs in question are no longer staying with us, the lessons about when to take advice and when to ignore it still stand.  Happy Groundhog Day!

If you work with people, eventually some of them are going to make suggestions.  Most of the time, those suggestions will be made with the best of intentions.  And yet, sometimes following said advice will be the best thing that ever happened to you or your organization, and sometimes it will lead to unmitigated disaster.*  So how do you determine when to listen and adapt and when to smile and nod?

Bring on the Baby Groundhogs!

The groundhogs in this video live in my backyard.  As you can see, I’m pretty excited about it.  When they first showed up I called two moms to tell them about it. Continue reading

The Baby Groundhog Guide to Organizational Decision Making

If you work with people, eventually some of them are going to make suggestions.  Most of the time, those suggestions will be made with the best of intentions.  And yet, sometimes following said advice will be the best thing that ever happened to you or your organization, and sometimes it will lead to unmitigated disaster.*  So how do you determine when to listen and adapt and when to smile and nod?

Bring on the Baby Groundhogs!

The groundhogs in this video live in my backyard.  As you can see, I’m pretty excited about it.  When they first showed up I called two moms to tell them about it. Continue reading