Leaders: Wisdom is your job

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The best leader is not the smartest person in the room. They in fact ensure that a smarter person is in the room.

The same principle applies to wisdom.

In any given situation someone must ensure the soundness of an action. This comes from good judgment, knowledge, common sense, and experience.

I was president of a professional association over a decade ago. One important procedure was to have a past president at each board meeting. Their job – to provide wisdom. The past president offered advice about the history of past actions on the given topic. We had their experience without having to have been there.

I heard that the approach wasn’t still in place so I went to a board meeting. I heard three things the board was pursuing with no knowledge of how those very same approaches were applied in the past.

Reinventing the wheel. Wasting time. Blindly stepping off a cliff. Why would we want this in our organization?

Wisdom really is another label for advice you’ve seen in this blog many times – think through the problem rather than simply thinking about the problem.

When you think through a problem you consider a 360 degree perspective. Part of the analysis must be history. Was this tried before? What happened? How was it perceived? What’s different now?

You may not have been around for that history. You must seek out that perspective. Who has it? Talk to them.

Fully consider the full stakeholder list. Consider the history your constituents possess.

How does the body of knowledge of your organization and industry apply to the problem at hand?

In the hard drive forward and the desire to win provide your organization the wisdom necessary for success.

The best and brightest working on a problem is crucial. Balance the vitality of youth with the wisdom of experience for the highest value.

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On October 20, 2015
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