Wisdom Nomads go form meeting to meeting. ‘We need to make sure that’, ‘we have to know how this fits with’, ‘we have to ask if’, ‘I am concerned about’, usually mean absolutely nothing. Spot those Nomadic Wisdom Distributors, and do something for your managerial wellbeing.
He is just making a statement of wisdom for distribution around the table. He has just sent a message of prudence and warning to others, by definition, and by attribution, less prudent than him. He will leave the room and do nothing. He will leave the meeting on the hour (‘sorry, I have a 4 o’clock’, I’ll catch up with you later, Peter’, said to the organiser, eye to eye, ignoring everybody else) because he is very important, and his pieces of wisdom starting with ‘we need to make sure that’ and ‘we need to be careful that’, and ‘I am concerned about’, are needed in other 2 or 3 meetings that day. Or the ski will fall.
Those recurrent and predictable pearls of wisdom distributed around the room are seldom challenged. Why would you? It’s hard to disagree. So everybody nods their heads acknowledging the vital contribution.
These nomadic managers spend their day going from tent to tent contributing with their ‘we need to make sure that’, and ‘we need to be careful about’. They also arrive slightly late to each meeting; ‘sorry I am late, I was just in a meeting with X, usually an important one with a big name. These people bring zero value to the enterprise whilst growing an hypertrophic ego continuously reinforced by nobody calling it out. The trouble is that if they are relatively senior, all they are doing is to slow down the discussion, the advancement of an idea, or the progression towards a resolution.
They are bad news. And this tribe is huge. It’s the tribe of the Very Important, High Wisdom Priesthood. And its sister Congregation of the Very Concerned Fellows. They perform their rituals day to day, relentlessly. And rituals are hard to break.
You’d be surprised how much you can advance, and do, and get done, by not inviting these priests. But if you have them inside your own tent, start the breaking of the ritual. ‘We need to make sure we talk to John, and be careful we don’t’ can be followed by ‘sure, you have just got yourself a job, you talk to John and you are in charge of X so we are that careful’. Similarly, ‘I am concerned that’ needs to be followed by ‘let’s do something about your concern, Mary, why don’t you tackle that issue for us, so that you are not concerned anymore?’
These people will become busy, actually doing something, and you will be doing an immense favour to other tents as well.