The Need for Speed

Confessions of This Accidental Diminisher. Recently I decided to take our own “Are you an Accidental Diminisher?” quiz. I had managed to develop it, test it with others, and click through the test dozens of times to make sure it was returning accurate results, all without completing it on myself. I was preparing to teach a session on the perils of the Accidental Diminisher to a group of managers at NetApp, so it seemed only fair that I slow down for a moment to take the test myself….on me.

I got to the scenario about the “gift of gab,” knew I was guilty and scored myself high. I got to the “idea person” and felt the sting of truth again and gave myself a high score. And, when I read the scenario about the “rescuer,” I had to confess that I sometimes take fall into this trap.

The Need for Speed. When I got to the “quick decider” scenario, I paused for a moment. I re-read the question twice thinking about how I love agility and speed. I wondered if this might be a blind spot for me, but I quickly convinced myself otherwise. So I gave myself a relatively low score. I finished up the quiz, and received my overall score and the report which detailed my vulnerabilities.

I then called my work partner and asked him to complete the Accidental Diminisher quiz on me. We had intended the quiz to be used only as a self assessment, but I thought a second opinion would provide an interesting learning opportunity. He was delighted to oblige! In fact, so much so that he dropped what he was doing, completed my quiz and called me back within 4.5 minutes eager to compare results. But I was not so delighted to learn that his score for me was 4 points higher (toward the Accidental Diminisher side) than my self assessment! What drove this 4 point difference? His version of Liz showed an additional area of vulnerability – the “rapid responder.” He could see what I couldn’t (or really just didn’t want to see). My need for speed makes me prone to rushing decisions. I had to agree that I might just be accidentally diminishing people in the process.

Multiplier Practice. Multipliers know that some decisions need to be slowed down initially so the organization can speed up later. It is a truth that all important decisions get debated – it is just a matter of when and where that debate takes place. Diminishers make hasty or isolated decisions that leave the rest of the organization confused to quietly debate the decision at the water cooler or in closed offices. Multipliers invest the time in debating the decision up front with key players and with facts. This allows people to get smart on the issues, which in turn allows them to implement these decisions swiftly.

If you share this “need for speed,” invest time in debate upfront and enable your team to execute with agility and speed. You will speed up the whole cycle and build a smarter team.

One Comment


How would you rate Jack Welch for many years giving the nickname “neutron Jack”?

I have seen cultures so rigid and out of touch with the market that I have started to understand why Jack did what he did. Not understanding what he inherited, it is difficult to determine if alternatives would have worked or if he had time to implement a multiplier mentality. While at GE, he had a different environment (booming economy) and possibly an easier culture to mold.

Thoughts years after his retirement?

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