Turn your organization’s line into a platform

For many businesses, clubs, and other organizations, there are two groups—leaders and followers. The leaders decide what gets done and how to do it; the followers perform the work. There’s nothing wrong with qualified leaders describing a clear vision and saying, “Follow me.” But relegating the rest of the organization to following alone is like forcing all of them to stand in a line. When you’re stuck in a line, you can’t do anything but wait your turn. Any initiative or non-directed movement just means you’ll lose your place. The only option is to stand there, await further instructions, and inch forward when directed.

Instead of a long line, what if your organization became a large platform?

A platform is a stage, a place where people don’t just stand—they perform. A long line just means a lot of waiting around. But when your organization is a platform, every member has an equal chance to stand up (on the platform) and say:

I’ll do…
I want to try…
I’ll take responsibility for…
I can help…
I know how to…
I’ll pitch in to…
I can make a difference doing…
I’ll fix…
I’ll change…
I’ll experiment with…
It might work if I…
I will make sure…

Imagine how much more your organization could accomplish, how much further your people could go, how much good you could do if you made the change from a place of waiting to a place of performing.

Leaders, to make the change, use the platform as both an invitation and expectation. Everyone is invited to step up. Nobody gets to sit back and wait to be told what to do. Assume that most people want to contribute and make a difference (most really do). And acknowledge that once the platform is in place, the best thing a leader can do is help everyone stand up and offer their best performance.

Once you let people stop waiting in line, those who care the most, who are willing to take responsibility and do the work, will rise to the top. Anyone who doesn’t will be left back in the line.

It’s better for the organization. It’s better for the people. And it’s a much better way for everyone involved to stand out to colleges.