“Can a Diminisher really become a Multiplier?” This is, perhaps, the most common question we hear – in workshops, at speeches, and even on mysterious inquiries on our website.
Accidental Diminisher Seeking Reform. Several weeks ago we got a short, mysterious inquiry regarding executive coaching on the Wiseman Group website. It simply said, “Accidental Diminisher seeking recovery and reform” and gave contact information. Of course, I couldn’t resist calling to hear the story behind an inquiry so brief it appeared meant for transmission via Morse code or as a personal ad in the newspaper.
“Going out” as a Multiplier. The voice on the other end of the phone belonged to a thoughtful, soft spoken CEO who had founded a creative company that he scaled into a global services firm over 25 years. He said, “I’ve just read Multipliers and it struck a cord with me. I realized that I’ve spent most of my career as an Accidental Diminisher. I believe I am a Multiplier at heart, but all of my role models have been Diminishers. I am now 53 years old, and I have about 10 years of my career left. I’d like to go out as a Multiplier.” His sincerity was obvious. He continued, “And, I’d like to create a lot of other Multipliers inside this company in the process.” I was intrigued by the idea of a company full of Multipliers, but honestly, he had me at “go out as a Multiplier.” I agreed to be his coach.
From Accident to On-Purpose. Yes, recalcitrant Diminishers may not naturally mature into Multipliers – certainly not overnight or without a wake-up call. But, the path is easier for the Accidental Diminisher – the well intended manager who has been relying too heavily on his or her own knowledge, inadvertently underutilizing the deeper capabilities of the team.
What does it take to make this shift? Well, the only way to get beyond accidental diminishing is to begin to lead on purpose, and this requires awareness, discipline and persistence. You might have to admit that some of what you are doing isn’t working. Well, it might have been working well for you, but not for the others around you. You might need to wrestle down a few of the Multiplier practices, especially those that feel contrary to the management techniques that seem to have worked so well for you in the past.
Multiplier Practice. Take a look back at your career. How much of it have you spent as a Multiplier vs. as a Diminisher? Chart it with time on one axis and the “Diminisher – Multiplier” spectrum on the other. How much time do you have left? How do you want to spend it? Will you exit your career as a Diminisher who built your success on your own brilliance? Or, will you leave a larger legacy – a legacy of collective brilliance, of people who have grown around you, and an organization that can continue to thrive after your departure? Will you “go out as a Multiplier?”