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Monday, November 9, 2015


Most of us have worked on a team or in an organization that had some bobbleheads.  These are the folks that smile, nod, and pretend to agree (whether they do or not).  

Some classic "symptoms" of bobblehead-itis are:
  1. The disinclination to participate fully in crafting solutions.
  2. The incipient insertion of the question stem of "Yeah, but how ... ?" into almost all discussions.
  3. The unwillingness to energetically engage in the deployment of an agreed upon strategy.
  4. Hiding from or outright fearing responsibility.
Organizational leaders can, by the environments we create, encourage or discourage the number and impact of the bobbleheads.

Here are some strategies that will reduce their number and their deleterious impact:
  • Ensure full and open disclosure of information relevant to the organization.
  • Make sure all members of the team/organization have voice.
  • NEVER punish members for using the voice we have given them.  Make it safe for dissent.
  • Praise the team for the "wins," and own the "losses" personally.
  • Constantly review, revisit, revise (i.e., continuous improvement mode).  
The more complex the problems we face, the more unclear the "right" solutions will be.  All voices need to be heard, all minds are needed in the crafting of solutions.  Once decisions are made, all shoulders are needed at the wheel. 

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