Even if it’s none of your business… 

It might still be your business. 

What do I mean by “leading from the side”?

Leading from above, below and within are pretty obvious. But from the side?
Wherever you are in your organisation, there are probably some parts of it that you rarely interact with. Maybe marketing. Or building management. It depends on what you do every day. 

So what do you do if you spot something to do with one of them that worries you? Or something that would be a great opportunity if someone noticed?

It’s none of your business. It won’t really affect you. 

But is it important? 

If not, then don’t get involved. They have their own priorities and concerns and opportunities to deal with. 

But if it is… Do something! Figure out the right person to talk to, and say something. 

How?

There are 2 key points. 

First. It helps if you have established good relationships across your organisation. Even in the parts you rarely interact with. This is a key factor in building influence. If you have a good pre-existing relationship with someone they are much more likely to be willing to listen and treat your comments as valuable. 

Second. The less the issue impacts on your part of the business, the more you have to dial up the humility. “I know this isn’t really any of my business… but do we need to be careful about [this issue]?”

Why is this important?

Your unique perspective, knowledge and experience lead to unique insights. Whatever your role. 

If you spot something you think is important, it might be that no-one else has seen it. 

With that in mind, which is worse… 

The risk that you say something and it’s already been thought of? 

The risk you say something and you’re wrong? 

Or the risk that you don’t say something and you miss the opportunity or the concern becomes true?

If you’re committed to the success of your organisation, if it’s important but it’s none of your business, it IS your business. 

Ask better questions

Do you ever find yourself asking things like…

“Why won’t they just send me the information in the way that I need it?”

“When will John realise that he’s taking this in the wrong direction?”

“Who is supposed to deal with this?”

These sorts of questions reinforce a notion that we’re powerless in the face of our difficulties. We’re waiting for someone else to do something differently or behave differently or step in and solve the problem. They all say “It’s someone else’s fault!”

In his brilliant book: QBQ – The Question Behind the Question; John Miller says this…

miller-qbq

By this he means… When you find yourself asking questions like those above… When you find yourself shifting blame away from you… Refocus your mindset by asking the question behind the question (or QBQ). Which is essentially always:

What can *I* do to make the situation better?

You can only ever truly control your own actions. Waiting for others to do things differently before you move on, means you’re giving up ownership and accountability for making progress and setting yourself up as a victim of circumstance.

Better to let go of what you can’t control and instead shift something that IS in your power.

Your mindset will be better and you’ll likely make a positive difference in the process.