When a leader asks for input and then makes a decision, the result is vivid color, i.e. a better decision. It is a better decision for lots of reasons.

First and foremost, your team feels valued when they are asked to participate in the decision process.

Second, there is value in the wisdom of crowds; many times the group will surface ideas that the leader hasn’t thought about. As a Vistage Chair and leadership coach, I see this happen each month during the executive sessions I lead with CEOs and Key Executives. This, of course, is why nearly 20,000 people around the world are members of Vistage – because we know the value of seeking input from others.

Where it all goes awry, is when we seek consensus either from our team or from our Vistage group (or our family, friends, etc). With consensus all the colors get mixed together, resulting in a dull beige, i.e. a mediocre, watered down decision.

Sometimes this may be okay, when the goal is more about participation that it is about making decisions. The key is being mindful of your goal.

So, the next time you are asking for input, ask yourself, “is it vivid color I want or is beige okay?” And, if it is color you want, don’t settle for beige. Make the final decision yourself.

Elisa K. Spain



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