Leadership Nudge® 293 – Let’s Collaborate admin January 29, 2020

Leadership Nudge® 293 – Let’s Collaborate

The Industrial Age play for management was to coerce people into getting the job done. Today, we “motivate” or “inspire” people to get the job done which is coercion in disguise. The new play for leaders is to Collaborate – share ideas, be vulnerable, and respect the ideas of others.

To move from coercion into true collaboration, let the doers be the deciders.


The fundamental organizational design principle from the industrial age was to separate the deciders from the doers. And so we had labels: white collar – blue collar, salary people – hourly people, management – workers, leaders – followers. And the idea was these people decided what these people needed to do. So, the go to play of the Industrial Age playbook was coerce because coerce is how you get someone else to do something you want them to do. Now we don’t use the word we say well we motivate or we inspire, or something like that but fundamentally it’s about getting someone else to do something. It sounds like hey I think we are going to go here. What do you guys think?” Coercion. Because you’re just making it a little bit harder for someone to say no I don’t think that.” The play we want now is called collaborate. True collaboration sounds like, Hey What does everyone think? Write it down on a card and before we contaminate you with what I think, or even a group conversation, collaboration, results in commitment because the team is making the decision. The keyword is to say let the doers, be the deciders. Old play coerce, new play, collaborate, I’m never working, that’s really shut down.