Stepping Back and Shutting Up
This week at the Windy City Social Marketing Challenge I had the wonderful responsibility and opportunity to be part of the Team Chevy Cruze Challenge.
Chevy is launching their Cruze for a Cause program, a grass roots awareness building program that challenges people to âChange the World in a Weekâ using a fleet of Chevy Cruzes. The purpose of the program is to create name awareness of Cruze in advance of the launch and to foster positive feelings about Cruze and start to address social acceptability
My teammates were an intelligent group of awesome and invested people. They were in it for the experience of making some thing good together, not for winning some prize.
I had just left a great meeting with Carol Roth in which we had talked about working with a new team that was incredibly smart. We had discussed the value of stating the objectives and possible ideas, then letting the team work so that someone stays outside the system and doesn’t know what built the thoughts.
It was my first time doing the challenge. That approach seemed a good approach for a time like this.
- Participate in restating the challenge, target market and values, and choose an appropriate message.
- Step back when folks were ready to run with the challenge on their own. Check in every now and then.
- Tell the team that was the plan.
It seemed to work well with the team.
What I lost sight of was that … we weren’t the only team in the room.
Cheer – leading for Your Team Isn’t Always Good
A leader wants to be there for structure and thinking, but more than that a leader knows that too much of one voice means great thoughts and ideas of others don’t come up. At times any person’s voice becomes amplified into a leader’s voice even when we just want to be one of the team.
It happens when we are considered to be …
- a team leader
- more experienced
- more knowledgeable
- more known, respected, or powerful
- more fluent or facile with ideas
so realizing when our words carry more weight than we want and stepping back a little can be a good thing.
Sitting at the table while folks are thinking and planning doesn’t remove you from their thinking, you still know how they built it so you can’t look at the whole to question how they got there when the time to question comes.
So what do you do when you leave the group? Sometimes we can use our louder voice to be a cheerleader, but that’s a tricky thing too.
I know because I did it wrong.
Other teams were working in different ways toward the same outcome. This is the big learning …
I learned how brands, teams, and any one of us can be other-centered and self-absorbed at the same time …
You see I was so invested in supporting my own team. I was blind to how I interrupted other folks while they were supporting their own.
My apologies to the other teams. My apology to the folks on my team too. You deserved better from me.
Thanks for all I learned from all of you.
And it underscores something I have to keep reminding myself:
The minute I’m sure I’m right, I’m most certainly wrong.
Does your brand, your business, or you have your own version of this? I’d love to hear how you manage it.
–ME “Liz” Strauss