Confessions of an Accidental Diminisher

The Accidental Diminisher.  When we put together our “Are you an Accidental Diminisher?” quiz, I had no idea I’d hear so many personal confessions.  A few nights ago at a community fundraiser, I got stopped by at least five people telling me how they scored on the quiz.  Some shared enthusiastically that they were in the green zone.  My favorite confession was from a technology executive who has a great self depreciating wit and said, “When I took the quiz, I went easy on myself because I didn’t want to find out that I am a Diminisher.  But, I … Read the rest

Prime Minister Gordon Brown: Intelligence Diminisher?

Today Gordon Brown offered his resignation. It provides an opportunity to reflect on his tenure as Prime Minister which, to my reading of history, is that of a tragic leadership figure—someone whose own intelligence seemed to get in the way of his ability to access other people’s.

Even Brown’s toughest critics would accept that he is an intelligent man. Shai Agassi, of Better Place fame, wrote after watching him speak at the World Economic Forum, “the man is the most cerebral leader I have ever seen.” http://shaiagassi.typepad.com/the_long_tailpipe/page/2/. Praise indeed coming from someone as smart as Shai. It is a … Read the rest

CK Prahalad

On April 16, CK Prahalad, professor and renowned management guru, died after a sudden illness.  The world lost one of its great thinkers and teachers, and an extraordinary Multiplier.   For me, I’ve lost an important mentor – one who not only shaped me professionally, but who played a vital role in the creation of the book Multipliers.  As I reflect on this loss, I’m reminded of what I gained.

CK Prahalad:  The Genius and the Genius Maker. There are great thinkers and there are great teachers, and they are different.  Great thinkers are smart.  Great teachers make others smart.  The … Read the rest

Double Your Workforce for Free

Multipliers get more. Multipliers extract all the capability from people. In our research interviews (for Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter), people told us that leaders who operate as Multipliers got a lot more out of them than Diminishers. We asked each person to identify the percentage of their real capability that each type of leader received from them. Some people seemed reluctant to answer at first. We made it clear that we weren’t asking how hard they worked. We wanted to know what percentage of their true brainpower, their ideas, their talent, and their energy these leaders … Read the rest

A Tale of Two Managers

We’ve all had experience with two dramatically different types of leaders.  The first type drains intelligence, energy, and capability from the people around them and always needs to be the smartest, most capable person in the room.  These managers shut down the smarts of others, ultimately stifling the flow of ideas. These are the idea killers and energy sappers.  You know these people, because you’ve worked for and with them.

Maybe you’ve worked for the know-it-all variety – the visionary who is so focused on selling his vision to the organization that he doesn’t leave any space for others to … Read the rest