Daily Stretch # 6: Let Go of Power


“Too many problem-solving sessions become battlegrounds where decisions are made based on power rather than intelligence.” — Margaret J. Wheatley

Making the right decision requires wisdom. Aiming for the best outcome is more than just evaluating data, options and probabilities. It’s about weighing the consequences.

Yet, in most organizations, decision making is closely linked to power (hierarchy) rather than wisdom.

Those who are in charge, have the final call. To delegate decision-making equals delegating power. And that’s a ‘no-no’ for many leaders.

Unfortunately, power and wisdom don’t get along very well. Power struggles blind a leader’s common sense. When who makes the decision becomes more important than the decision itself, don’t expect a wise outcome.

Today’s Stretch: Let Go of Power

There’s an interesting paradox in decision making.

People are good at realizing (and complaining) when a “boss” is too controlling. But, when a boss removes herself/ himself from decision-making, people don’t notice it immediately.

Making decisions is like freedom. Everyone wants it but they don’t know what to do with it once they get it. Maybe that’s why people don’t acknowledge when the ball is on their side.

Be Patient. Not attending one meeting, to see what happens, is not enough. This stretch only works when your team takes advantage of being free to make the call.

Learning takes time.

Today’s stretch: remove yourself from decision making. Your team can only learn by doing. Choose a project where you are the final decision maker and assign that role to someone else.

Free yourself from holding on to the illusion of power.

I Hear These Excuses Way Too Often

“My team is not ready yet.”

“I’m supposed to make the final call. It’s my job”

“I’ve dealt with this kind of problems several times. They don’t have the experience.”

Stretch, Reflect & Grow

Use these questions to reflect once you’ve practiced this new stretch.

  • How would you describe yourself as a decision-maker?
  • What role do power and authority play in your life?
  • How did it feel to let go of decision making?
  • Were you able to let go? Or did you try to influence behind the scenes?

Before You Go

Change happens one stretch at a time. Daily exercises to stretch beyond your comfort zone.

Improve your change fitness:

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