Coach’s Notes: What vs. How II

Excerpt from Permission to Lead, book 2 of The Dominant Gene series. Part two in a two-part series.

“Leaders have the what. The ask. What is the goal, what needs to be done, what is the problem? Teams and people who are respected have the how. The answer. How will the goal be met, how will work get done? How will the problem be solved?” Eve pauses, “The ultimate respect for people is when leaders give teams and people clear details on the what, and then the team is trusted with how to get that work to done. It could be a problem, a theory in need of an experiment, or an actual thing that needs to be built. In the near future, you’ll see how agile embraces this same philosophy.”

Eve, leader coach in Permission to Lead. Art by Ian Corrao

“Huh.” I like it but it sure is different from the way I work now, “Does it work just for teams, or for direct reporting relationships?”

“What do you think, Joel?” Eve pushes me just a little further.

I chuckle, “Yes, it works for all leaders. Probably with subtle differences.”

Joel, tech director in Permission to Lead. Artwork by Ian Corrao.

“Excellent,” Eve grins, “and you did that on half a cup of coffee. You usually have yours finished by now. You okay?”

“You’re killing me, that’s all,” I pretend to look blasé.


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