John Hennessy, current chairman of Alphabet (Google), said in a conversation with a16z that, “It’s not enough to understand how many people are depending on you, it’s just as important to realize how much you are depending on them.” It’s true of our teams, employees, managers, and most importantly – our clients. When stuff gets ugly, we have to step up. Most importantly, we have to step in with clarity of vision for what we are attempting to achieve, whether that’s a direct business objective or to keep a client on course with their plan.
In The Dichotomy of Leadership, the authors say leaders must care about their troops more than anything in the world – but still accomplish the mission. Leaders should focus on communicating (and communicating some more, and then communicating again…) the mission. People will regularly need reminders of what it looks and feels like. The paths and solutions that will be revealed along the way will require everyone to “own” different aspects of the process, and knowing the mission is the only way to ensure sound decision making.
True to Hennessy’s comment, they’re depending on us because they need the help, and we’re depending on them because we wouldn’t be there without them. There’s only one way to remind people of the mission: communication. Todays a good day for it, who are you contacting?