Wide Open Spaces
I had the benefit of being the second child. Parents, you know what I mean. My sister was the first and therefore, had the added protection that every parent places on their first born. By the time the second child comes along, I don’t want to say parents stop caring, they have just learned to relax the rules a bit.
When it came to riding our bikes, my sister had limits placed on her adventures. I don’t remember the number now, but there was a certain number of sidewalk tiles that she was allowed to travel. Once I started riding my bike, I was allowed to pretty much rule and reign over Woodrow Avenue in Bedford, Ohio. I made ramps. I attempted wheelies. I traveled to friends houses and the playground. This kind of freedom came with mistakes too. I once had a horrible wreck the day before school pictures. Not good. Not good at all.
“She needed wide open spaces. Room to make a big mistake.” – The Dixie Chicks
Our teams are no different
I just quoted the Dixie Chicks because they said it best. When we lead a team, they need to have wide open spaces. They need room to be creative and innovative and feel the energy gained from both. Our job as leaders (and parents) is to set the parameters. Communicate the non-negotiables. Cast the vision and “let that pony run!”
One of the worst things we can do is create a culture of “no” and limit the amount of sidewalk spaces they can travel with their creativity. This doesn’t mean you agree with every idea. It also means you’re giving them room to make a big mistake. Sometimes they will.
This is where you can shape and architect the thought into so much more.
As a leader you don't have to be the smartest guy in the room. You should actually learn from the smartest guy in the room and then give them every opportunity to shine. Check your ego and give them all the support they need. The whole TEAM wins.
— Aaron Conrad (@AaronConrad) September 9, 2018
I spent a portion my day meeting with 2 of our team members. We were discussing some new programs we’re getting ready to launch. Together we wrestled with every angle of the opportunity. We had some ideas but not quite what we were looking for yet.
One of the two called me a little while ago so excited he could barely contain himself. It turns out they continued the conversation after I left. Together they had created a new idea that brought it all together. With the vision in mind and the non-negotiables in place, they let their creativity take off. I loved their new idea. I appreciated their creativity even more.
They just needed wide open spaces.