This is a vital question, one that I will pose to you.
Who is in the room when you are casting vision, making decisions, or planning for change?
The people you have in the room when these topics come out is going to define your organization’s ability make a difference. When you have people in the room, they need to be different.
You need to have different people in the room for three reasons:
- Different thinking
- Different skill sets
- Different experiences
I once read about a story of Henry Ford who was in a meeting with his board when he said, “Ok guys, so I guess we are all in agreement on this?” as they all stated, “Yes, we are.” Mr. Ford proceeded to say, “Ok, then I’m going home, you guys stay here and until we have some disagreement on this, we’re not going to make a decision.”
Let me explain more for these three areas:
Different Thinking – I love good thinkers. They aren’t always the best implementers, but I can always find someone to implement someone else’s ideas. I also love to get good thinkers to disagree and engage in conversation with other good thinkers. You need to keep them thinking in the areas of their strength. Some people are good thinkers in the area of fundraising, planning, administration, or accounting practices.
Different Skill Sets – These are the people who help the good thinkers discover if their ideas are able to actually be implemented. Good thinkers are often just that, good thinkers. They don’t always have the best grasp of reality. So it takes a person with good skill sets to help determine which idea can be implemented, and out of the ideas that can be implemented to decide which idea is the best one to implement. People with different skill sets are the delegates. They are the ones who actually make it happen. They often come alongside the thinkers and make their ideas and vision become a reality. People with different skill sets are usually like the craftsman and mechanics. They are great at looking at something, using their hands and parts to build it and make it work.
Different Experiences – These are the people who can draw on past experiences, successes, and failures to help things move forward. These experiences provide insight and resources for everyone to draw on. Here’s the thing you have to watch out for with experiences, their past experience can greatly hinder your organization’s success. Just because they have failed or seen someone else fail in a certain area, might cause them to think everyone else will fail in that area.
When you get different people in the room, you're going to have disagreements. One of the great qualities of leaders who can run effective meetings is being able to successfully and smoothly facilitate disagreements between members of their staff and team.
This has been a huge element of my role with A Day of Hope. We often sit in meetings for our leadership team and fundraising team with so many ideas going around it’s crazy. Most of the volunteers are young energetic people such as myself, so they are always bouncing ideas around and asking great questions.
I hope you now see why you should have different people in the room.