Why successful teams require a CDO – Chief Discomfort Officer

Uncomfortable with bossNaming new C Suite class of titles is a fancy thing. We had the uber cool CEO and then his gang of all CMOs, CFOs…. CXOs. ¬†While I believe we have found enough chiefs across various verticals to lead the company. What goes missing in the leadership is the act to plant discomfort. Let me just elaborate a bit on why this is required.

Teams work against their growth

By virtue of being in existence every business expects to grow multifold. Growth and success are by products of CHANGE. And change by the way is a thing which faces the maximum resistance from teams across the organization. Now this is ironic. The very component required for success faces resistance! What can be done?

As a leader day in and day out you are supposed to influence people to act. Push them to not act in the same monotonic manner but to innovate and build exceptional stuff. To break paths and set trends. All said and done this rarely happens. So what can you as a leader really do? You can push the army towards something that is uncomfortable. Giving some amount of discomfort really makes the team more smart and more productive

Lets talk examples, will you?

Yes examples add clarity to understanding.

Portray the most difficult boses that you have ever had in your lifetime. Forget bosses, the most difficult people to deal with. Now 80% of this group are the idiots. Forget them, we are not talking of them. What about those good ones who were dificult to talk with? A good person who made your life difficult? A friend who was a god send advisor, a mentor who told you how not to do things or even a father who tried to make it difficult by suggesting you the longer route to getting things done. At times we felt very uncomfortable with these guys. Why ? Probably because they asked us things which were difficult to answer. They proved how we were insanely wrong?

Giving some kind of discomfort is then a part of leadership. Jack Welch fired many people from GE when he took over as CEO. Steve Jobs killed enough products to get Apple back on track. These seem good examples from the outside but what happened to the people who were leading these initiatives that got shelved by these legends?

A primary goal of a leader is to disrupt.

So who would be the CDO and what will he do

Now we are making sense. You Chief Discomfort Officer is someone who would ask piercing questions to the followers. Questions that will make them think clearer than what they have been doing. A CDO will have to get his hands dirty to prove people that stuff can be done whether they want/believe it or not. He/She will make sure people put enough thought process and effort before they come back whining about how things are just not happening.

With these qualifications who do you think should be a CDO? I believe everyone. Everyone in a leadership role needs to be a CDO. This habit got into me from my boss. He knows stuff in and out. So before you try to open any silly thing before him you have to think twice. Same is today applicable to me vs my juniors. As a leader you are better off leading initiatives that change fortunes, rather than keep rectifying your followers thought.

Rather the juniors are indirectly delegating stuff back to you. They are making you burn grey cells which they were supposed to. So why not be a CDO.

All of a sudden you know you are solving problems that are worthy of you. You have more time and you are more productive at what you. In the long run, no one will look at you and say some point in my life you made him feel uncomfortable. They will alwas thank you for what you have made out of them.

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