Coaching the senior team as they prepared for a department-wide meeting about recent employee survey results, I listened as they talked about sharing the findings. When they began discussing a timeline for getting back to employees with solutions to the problems raised, I had to put the brakes on.

“This idea,” I said to them, “is a trap. It’s unlikely that you can develop viable solutions to problems raised by others, without involving them.” I suggested they get the workforce involved so that they’ll all be able to dive deeper, better understand the issues and craft and vet recommended solutions, effectively.

It’s an old, paternalistic, command-control notion to think that management has all the answers or must be solely responsible for developing them. Those affected by the problem have a valuable perspective and energy to lend to the solution.

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