Only connect. When I first went to work at the Bank of England, I had the good fortune to be managed by some very good managers–people who were technically very challenging and very thoughtful about how the people they led were motivated. My first boss told me that I had not been hired to know all the answers; I was expected to ask the right questions. That guides me still, and have tried to pass that on to those around me, especially my children. Another manager I worked for told me, mystically, “Only connect.” He never explained in detail, but gave examples of what that should look like in the world of finance and debt issues into which I became mired under his leadership. I’ve tried to use that advice constantly.
I can think of many people and things that I have ‘only connected’. My job was done once that was completed. I was not obliged to monitor or coax the connected into any particular shape. No agenda. No pack drill. No micro- or macro-managing. Breathing regularly if the connected pulled apart. Breathing easily if they connected more closely. Best of all, they carried on without regard to what role I had played, initially. I should be happy to walk away when I was good and ready. Not being rude.
I know lots of people who love to put their fingers into pies and keep them there. The idea is to just check on the pie to see if it’s ready, not inspect it. You really don’t need to check how many blackbirds are inside; whether they are all singing in tune; whether their beaks are all pointing in the same direction; if they are ready to come out or to be eaten. Some have to be totally inside the pie 🙂 Then their noses get pecked off!