This post emerged from the monthly company meeting of a small , but successful Australian manufacturing business for whom I do occasional work. One of their great practices, in my view, is the monthly “progress” meeting, where the results of the previous month are shared, there is a look forward, and a conversation about anything of interest to the employees. Nothing relating to performance is off the agenda.
At two points in a recent meeting, the MD demonstrated why the business was successful, and why he was a successful leader.
- Early on, he was asked an insightful and quite confronting question. His response: “I don’t know”, followed by an undertaking to find out, and report back, which everyone knows he will.
- Late in the meeting, there was a reference to a modest incident where an operator had used some initiative, gone beyond the expected boundaries, and had slightly mitigated an unexpected situation. This was highlighted, and whilst the outcome had not made a huge difference, the MD looked the operator in the eye, and said, in front of the whole workforce, “well done”
Five words that had a profound impact: “I don’t know” and “well done”.