Judgment time: Leaders should be required to go into the weeds before judging them

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Heading home from a conference in San Antonio in 2018, I was thinking about the importance of all leaders being in the weeds before they get to judge the weeds.

Yea, yea, yea. Insert <only ask people to do things you would do> here. And we can’t all have the same skills. Leaders who lead a number of teams can’t possibly be able to do everything every single person can do on those teams.

But they can still get into the weeds. Two examples come to mind:

Webinars

When I was the entertainment on webinars (read: the presenter) in webinars I would then follow up with leads.

See, many webinars don’t exist for you to be educated – though when done well you will be highly informed. Many companies do webinars to drive business acquisition.

Here’s the problem presented in the webinar

Problem solved

And later: By the way, you can hire us

Right or wrong, that’s how it is and it works well enough for all sides – which is why businesses do them and why people sign up to watch them.

Of course, the buying cycle often includes phone calls and emails. “Any questions that we can answer?”

I’ve done webinars for a while and have experienced those weeds from all angles. And then I jumped into the inside sales piece, too.

I called people who had registered. Yes, phone calls en masse still work.

Some people listened, some asked questions and others presented what they might buy. That’s interesting in digital marketing because you can either stick with packages of service or adjust based on need.

And then some people gave feedback on the presenter – me, though they didn’t know it was me.

Some were good. Others included:

  • Didn’t like him
  • Nothing new
  • Etc.

Related: Mean things people have said to me on Twitter

But getting into the weeds helped me know more about sales and inbound marketing.

Photography

While covering a conference I went to an event and tried to get some good and candid photos – including captions.

I take pictures all the time, but actually following a journalistic process is a lot harder:

  • Take candid picture
  • Get people’s names
  • Get all other information that your editor might need

Social media

Anyone can participate in social media. This is an easy one for leaders to dive into and share their own stories.

If it’s hard to do, imagine how hard it might be to tell organizational stories with layers and layers of approval processes.

By the way, as easy as iPhone photograph sounds and is for some things, the images need to be lighted decently as well.

That’s probably why Undercover Boss was a popular show for a while. Bosses see what happens on the front lines and it doesn’t always mix with their perceptions.

And while I’m not putting on any wigs – which the undercover bosses often did – diving into the weeds and many tasks can help improve the tasks – especially in an ever-changing environment.

In a rapidly-changing environment it’s about understanding, lifelong learning and adjusting.