Book Sum: Multipliers by Liz Wizeman – how you can lead and manage to get the best out of your team

Multipliers assume:

  • Others are smart enough to figure things out
  • Intelligence can be grown

Using multiplier approach, you will make people around you more successful. Did not do research on whether it makes YOU more successful [but seems likely, based on the fact that most people I see who are highly successful seem to operate from a multiplier mindset, like the investor in our company, a true multiplier – he made me feel incredibly motivated and driven after his comment: “I am not worried as long as you are here”.]

5 types of multipliers:

Talent Magnet – leads by attracting and growing talent

Makes people around them grow by finding their “hidden talents” and strengths, gives responsibilities based on this and helps them grow their natural talents, and showcases their success to others in the organization, and allows them to grow into other roles in the organization (unlike the “Empire Builder” who wants to build an empire – but often it becomes an empire of zombies not producing anything, which makes the Empire Builder crave and demand more and more resources which drains the organization). Then the Talent Magnet showcases their people and their successful transitions to other roles to everybody, which makes other people attracted to work in this team where you grow both personally and in your career, and this attracts more A-talent, and he gets the best team – so it becomes a good circle.

Liberator – liberates free thinking

Liberates people’s free thinking, gives them the courage to speak up, to speak their free will. Removes stress (what’s outside of your control), but amplifies pressure (expectation that you will deliver on what is within your control). But one thing is always demanded – that anything you say is not opinion, but can be backed up by data.

Challenger – challenges people to achieve great things

Presents an opportunity (or frames a problem as an opportunity, or asks tough questions which makes people question the assumptions – an example was given where a company thought itself invincible and made stupid decisions, and this professor came in and wrote a fictitious article about how the company went bankrupt), creates a challenge (measurable, probably very hard to reach so people will need to stretch their capabilities and think creatively to reach it), makes it OK to fail as long as you try your best (praise the hard work, not the result achieved, then people will continue focusing on working hard, plus this will reduce stress rather than pressure), gives people hope or instills belief that the challenge can be achieved. Lets the people rise to the challenge rather than directing them to it. Says “I know you can achieve it” and leaves it to them.

Debate Maker – facilitates debate to enable good decision and execution

Prepare by making people understand the expectation and ask them to prepare data. Make the decision making process clear (who’ll make it – either the debate maker himself or someone he/she delegated to – so that people know that, the timeframe, and the thinking or rational or rules behind which decision will win). Make them debate, even if they have the same opinions. Force people to switch sides. Make them see the other side of the coin. Demand data, not opinion. Explain the decision making process. By making people debate upfront, you prepare them for the decision – when the decision comes, they will clearly understand the reasoning behind it and focus on executing. If you haven’t debated it but just give the decision to them after discussing it in closed rooms or in your own mind, then they will debate among themselves. [Basically, you can think of it like this: People will not execute a decision without first debating it. Either you can take control over that debate by organizing it yourself and upfront, or you can leave people to debate it in uncontrolled and less productive ways themselves later.] Also, debating it thoroughly brings up important data and insights which makes the decision itself better. The organization is smart. When organizing a debate, invite all stakeholders. After the decision is made, communicate it and the rationale behind it.

Investor – the perfect delegator

Gives ownership of tough issues to others (makes it clear that that person is responsible for achieving the goal, internally and externally), invest in developing that person to aid in goal achievement (coaching, mentoring, advising, asking tough questions – but always “giving back the pen” to the people rather than coming up with the final solution), and sets clear goals and expects clear results. Don’t interfere with the natural consequences. Don’t “save” people. If they do something that will lead to failure – let it lead to failure, then discuss and learn from it. To do this safely, delegate in doses so that they can fail on the non-important stuff. This makes them grow. But also, by delegating responsibility, and making clear that you won’t save them, you force them to grow. Also, demands complete work. Gave an example: Got a report, said “Is this your best work?” multiple times and in multiple cycles, until the person said yes, and then the investor said “Good, then I’ll read it this time”. [This is the perfect delegator.]

General – what multipliers and diminishers do to lead people

  • Multipliers are not “anything goes” people. They attract A-talent, and they expect only the best results. It is an intense environment where high results are demanded. The difference is, they trust that their people can bring those results and that they can figure it out.
  • Diminishers become bottlenecks. If you are a micromanager, nothing will happen without your input. If you are stepping in all the time and doing the work, they will learn that you will save them, and they won’t stretch their capabilities or do their best. If you don’t liberate thinking, but instead get angry when opinions are voiced, they will stop taking initiative. If you make decisions by yourself and then inform people, they will start becoming reactive and just wait for your input before they do something.
  • Multipliers get 2X out from their people compared to diminishers. A diminisher may get 60% out of his/her people, a multiplier may get 120% (the extra 20% above 100% comes from resources that those people didn’t know they had, and the fact that they became more intelligent under the multiplier’s management because they were stretched and had to develop).
  • People are not either a multiplier or a diminisher – it’s a gray scale. You can be diminishing sometimes, and multiplying at other times. It seems like adapting 3 of the multiplier trends and really making those your strength is the optimum.
  • Multipliers don’t take things too seriously. They can laugh. They don’t get stressed. They make fools out of themselves and make self-deprecating jokes to make people at ease and because they simply don’t take their own ego or how others view them so seriously – they are relaxed and fun.

Other tips & tricks:

  • “Don’t deliver an A-W-K without delivering a F-I-X”
  • Give back the ownership if you step in and help.

How do you become a multiplier?

  • Doing a 30-day challenge, where you focus on one aspect only, then after the 30 days build the next aspect and so on.
  • Focus on your extremes – either improve the thing you really suck at, so it doesn’t become an obstruction, or take to the next level your already greatest strength, to achieve new heights.
  • Fix your assumptions (assume people are smart, that their intelligence can grow, that they will figure it out), and the rest will follow automatically. Multiplier behaviors are actually natural consequences of good assumptions.

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