In this episode, we dive into a concept made popular by the book, “Multipliers,” by Liz Wiseman. In this book, she looks at two distinctly different types of managers and the impact they have on teams. Multipliers get more from teams by giving away power, while Diminishers requires ever more resources with their controlling ways. Frank and Ian reflect on the multipliers and diminishers they’ve worked with throughout their careers and what set them apart.

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Are You A Multiplier Or A Diminisher?

We are talking about a concept of two different types of managers, multipliers or diminishers. A multiplier gets the most out of their team. They make themselves less important. A diminisher has to be a genius. He has to be in everything. We are going to put Frank to the test because Frank believes he is a multiplier. He’s obviously multiplying children these days. He is growing his family. I am going out with a few good friends that are also good friends of Frank’s.

I told Frank what we were going to be up to, which involves red wine, red meat, and gambling. It’s probably more of the red wine than the other two. Frank is mulling this over. Frank was a true multiplier. He wouldn’t be that important to Cava Companies. Frank being out all day, which is what’s going to happen, wouldn’t be that big of a deal. We’re going to find out in a future episode whether Franky is the multiplier or the diminisher that has to be there, telling everyone what to do because the company can’t survive without old Frank. We’re going to find out.

The book Multipliers is being read by our company. It was recommended to me by one of my coaches. His name is Daniel Marcos. This is my opinion of Multipliers. The best people are multipliers but they’re also diminishers. Ian, I’m not sure which one I’m going to go with. I don’t know if I’m showing up or not, because I can tell you this. After a night out of drinking, boozing, and eating out with you, guys, I gained ten pounds. I am a diminisher for three days after that. I will be worthless until Monday.

If you come out with us, it will be a multiplying event for you on the scale. There’s no doubt about that. It will take you a week to diminish whatever you’ve done to your liver and your gut after a night with us in Downtown DC. The book is written by Liz Wiseman. Apparently, she did some research. What’s it based on? It’s based on a big study with 200 companies.

She studied over the course of a decade or something like that. You could tell I did some half-assed research and looked into the book but I did read the book, Frank. The concept of this is that she worked in the corporate space for a long time. She had a long career and wanted to write this book because she had seen from rising up through the ranks. What was the company she was in?

Honestly, I don’t even remember.

Let’s call it Intel. It’s a big company. She worked her way up through the chain as an executive. She saw that some managers tended to get the most out of their teams. Others, even though they appeared smarter than some of the other managers, tended to get less out of their teams. She has coined the term multipliers and diminishers. She’s put them into two different boxes. Frank’s managers and his company are reading this book and they love it. It’s an interesting topic. Both Frank and I had the same impression.

This book was suggested to Frank by a coach. His first take was it was a little bit basic. That was my take when I first started to read it but the best ideas are basic. They’re not great leadership books. When I think about myself when I first became a manager, the less complex, the concept, the better. If you could take away one or two big things out of a book, I always found them to be incredibly helpful. I would see a new manager.

From what I’ve read of this book, I would highly recommend it to a new manager. The reason is many people are diminishers without knowing it. We’re going to get into that a little bit. You don’t know. When you start, you start grinding away. You feel like you should be doing more all the time. You feel like you’re the one that should have all the ideas. The concepts we’re going to go through here show why that is misguided thinking. There are lots of accidental diminishers out there. If you were to ask people, you were to say, “Are you a diminisher? Do you get less out of your team than on average or replacement value? Are you a multiplier?”

In a famous study, 87% of men say they’re above-average lovers. Professors are the same. They all think they’re above average. It’s the same. You never hear someone who says, “I tend to lean towards being a micromanager. That’s my style.” No one ever says that. They always say, “I hate micromanagers.” Even the biggest micromanagers say it. There are a lot of accidental diminishers out there. If they read this book, they would be like, “That’s the way I operate. I should probably think about that.”

The best person to run a startup is a diminisher because you need a genius. Click To Tweet

There are a few things I’d like to say before we dive into the meat of this. Ian and I have an incredible affinity for Hal Elrod’s book, The Miracle Morning. We were both huge fans. Talk about simple. Getting up early is the concept. It sold millions of copies. It’s somehow written on a third-grade level with crayons. He managed to get a second book deal out of that book. It’s as simple as it could be. It’s like almost like another shift.

The thing that you realized in reading this and talking to my team as we build and talk about this is the best managers are multipliers. What a multiplier does is get you to a point where you feel excited. You want to be with them. You’re magnanimous. You draw people to you. It’s not just your personality. It’s what people think of themselves while they’re working with you. I can think of the best managers in my life. They’re all multipliers. They got more out of me and I wanted to do more for them because of it.

The other reason we’re reading this book as a management team and doing like a book club and talking about it is that it forces you to have rhythms. It forces you to have a vocabulary. If we are all on the same page with a similar rhythm and vocabulary, we’re working in the same direction and growing a team together. We are right about 50 employees. It’s a big moment for a company to be able to leap forward to get through that hurdle. We need a tool like this to come together, talk and have common nomenclature.

It’s a big thing. it’s simple but it gives you that ability. I’ll tell you one last thing and I’ll move off of this. I find myself to be mostly a multiplier but there are moments where I’m a diminisher. There are times when I go, grab something, and do it. That’s human nature. We all do it. What you need to be able to do in more instances than not is don’t go grab it. Instead of grabbing it, sit back and ask that person how to do it. Give them the space.

In most management tasks, I’m graded. We’re doing a book club with this. We were on the screen with our coach. I ran to the front of the room, grabbed the mouse, and moved it. I’m like, “Talk about being a diminisher.” It happens to all of us. What we’re going to argue here too, is with startups. Sometimes the best person to run a startup is a diminisher because you need a genius. You don’t need someone to build a crew. That’s going to come a little bit later.

A couple of stories came to my mind on the concept of this. One of them is the story of Matt Stafford. If you don’t follow football, he’s an incredibly talented quarterback who happens to be unlucky enough to get drafted by the Detroit Lions as the number one pick in the draft.

I’m going to add a little color here. Number one high school quarterback. He goes to Georgia. He graduates in three years. Comes into the NFL at 21 years old. First overall pick. He’s got all this incredible God-given talent. He’s an incredible athlete drafted by the Wolf Alli.

Wolf Alliance mangles every situation over the years. They draft poorly. They went through 5 or 6 head coaches. He had a new offensive coordinator almost every year for like a seven-year period where they kept churning through different offenses and coaches. His last coach was Matt Patricia, who came from the Patriots and he did it the Patriot way. That’s one thing when you’re the Patriots and you have a coach by the name of Bill Belichick who’s a literal genius.

When you come in as one of the genius’s underlings and try to run things the way he did, he was a classic diminisher. “It’s my way or the highway. I make all the decisions. I’m not going to take a lot of input even from my stars.” It was a disaster. They lost a ton of games and it left a stink on Matt Stafford’s brand. People were starting to associate him with losing and not coming through at the right moment. He begs for a trade from the Lions. After many years, they feel bad enough. They say, “Screw it. We’ll let you go.” He goes to the Rams and that’s a different organization. There are multipliers all over that organization, the general manager, and the head coach. Sean McVay is a multiplier.

The owner somehow figures out how to spend money and not have drafts. What they do is incredible.

LMSM 90 | Multiplier Or Diminisher

Multiplier Or Diminisher: There are two types of managers: multipliers and diminishers. A multiplier gets the most out of their team by making themselves less important. A diminisher has to be a genius and has to be in everything.

 

The coach, McVay, is a multiplier. He gets free agents to come there that didn’t want to go anywhere else. He gets the best ones to stay. People want to work in his organization but McVay is much the first second. He went out and met with Stafford when he recruited him. He said, “You and I are going to run this thing together. Your input. You’ve been doing this for many years. You’re talented. You’re going to have a lot of input on the offense.”

In his first year, after many years in the league of going to the Rams, Matt Stafford won a Super Bowl and he played incredibly. It wasn’t like the defense at all. He had 2 or 3 fourth-quarter comebacks in the playoff run. It goes to show how much a career can change under one style of leadership versus the next. He had worked for enough guys who felt like they were the genius that everyone needed to listen to. The one time he went and worked with a multiplier, great things happen.

That’s a lot of this. There are two types of managers. There’s the diminisher and the multiplier. When they looked into it and studied 200 different companies, they found out that under the diminisher, the comments that they heard from people is, “My job was more like cranking than creating. He was a smart manager but people had a way of shutting down around him. He killed our ideas.” The diminisher in a meeting did 30%, 40% of the talking. The diminishers gave a lot more feedback than the multipliers. They were specific in their feedback.

Whereas, in the multipliers, we’re a little more hands-off in how people were going about doing their job. Manager number two is the multiplier. She also calls the diminisher the genius. It’s interesting, Frank, in Good to Great, they call this manager the genius with 1,000 helpers. That’s classic Steve Jobs. There were a bunch of smart engineers around him but he was the dude. They called the multiplier the genius-maker.

People said under the multiplier, “We’re not sure what he did but we knew we were smarter under him. We were winning and that made us happy. He got a 100% from me. I was all in. It was exhilarating.” The multiplier doesn’t feel the need to be the center of attention. They’re not the center of attention. They don’t need credit. They don’t care where the ideas come from. They want to win and drive the organization. They speak 10% of the time in meetings.

Mostly, that’s to crisp up the problem statement. Most of the time, when they’re talking in a meeting, they’re laying a problem out or a concept. They want the team to debate the merits of the concept but they are genuinely interested in the feedback. When we talk about diminisher versus multiplier throughout this episode, those are the two that they found.

In her research that she went through, in the companies that had the multipliers as the CEOs, those employees that she interviewed said that those managers got twice the efficiency out of them as other managers. Those that had diminishers said that they were maybe 50% as productive as they could have been out of there. There’s this concept of 2X with the multiplier and 0.5X with the diminisher.

I’m going to add a few things here. I’m going to tell a work story and a personal story. The work story is this. I was a young division manager as vice president. Kenny was my boss. I walk into a meeting. He had me prepared. He had me ready and then he teed me up. In front of the CEO, I got to look good. I didn’t hear the bad stuff he dealt with. I got to talk about any of the good stuff. I was 31 years old. I was new in this role. I walked out of there, head held high, pound in my chest, feeling great. Kenny, at that moment, was 100% the multiplier.

He’d got me to feel better about the process and start to believe in myself that I was doing great things. A year goes by, and things happened. Kenny moves into a different role. A new guy comes in. The night before, as I did with Kenny before a big meeting, we would talk. The new guy gets me to talk and tell him all the stuff. In order to start the conversation in front of the CEO, you stole my best stuff for himself then let me deal with all the problems. I walked out of that meeting and felt like shit. I felt terrible.

It wasn’t collaborative. I got fleeced of my best stuff. Instead of that, I then had to put up with all the other bad stuff. I couldn’t use any of the good stuff because it was already out. That’s a diminisher’s mentality. That person was out for themselves and not out for the greater good. The first example was someone who is out for the greater good. As an employee, that’s what I felt. I didn’t know the terms then. I felt diminished and I didn’t feel great. That was a bad meeting for me that I still remembered many years later because of how it felt.

The best ideas are basic. The less complex the concept, the better. Click To Tweet

Before you get a new personal state, I have a Kenny story that falls in line with yours. Can I share that before you get into your personal one? This is like the 2011 timeframe, maybe 2012. I had had it with NVR. I’ve had it with the industry as much as anything. It had become all compliance, quality control, and auditing. I was flipping through files and checking checklists. It wasn’t fine. I was miserable. I had a different relationship with Kenny than you. He was my peer but he was a wise old sage in the company. He was looked at as royalty almost. Kenny’s probably 25 years older than us probably.

He’s 70-ish now. I conveyed to him, “I’m thinking about getting out of here. I’m miserable. I’m not having any fun. We don’t have nearly enough resources. You got people like me. You’re underutilizing me. I’m doing a bunch of quality control checks that some auditor could do that’s paid $50,000 a year. It’s ridiculous.” I told him I’m thinking about leaving. He talks me into coming and I remember thinking, “I don’t want to go to this.”

Do you remember that lobster bake that Peterson or one of the big developers used to do? It was a big lobster bake. A lot of the NVR people would go to it. We ultimately stopped doing it. It was a charity thing. There were tables bought. You went there. There were lobsters everywhere. It was for a good cause. I said no to him.

He was like, “You got to come. There are a lot of people there. Come on. Bring Jenny.” I’m like, “I got a baby at home. I’m tired all the time.” He’s like, “You got to come.” For whatever reason, he talked me into coming. I go to this with Jenny and she’s not excited to go about it either. It’s on a Saturday and I’m already working sixteen hours a day. When I got there, our CEO, Paul Seville was there. Kenny was seating at Seville’s table with Maureen.

I talked to Paul for a while. I talked to everyone there, hung out, and drank a little bit of wine. Halfway through the meal, Kenny comes over. He’s like, “GQ, I’m at a different table.” He goes, “Switch seats with me. I want to talk to your wife. You’re boring anyway.” Kenny was a gas. He’s like, “I want to talk to your beautiful wife. She’s probably sick of hanging out with you. Go take my seat.” He was sitting next to our CEO. He had teed this up. He had planned all this. I come and I sit down. Paul’s like, “How are you doing?” He’s real polite. “How are things going with your son? How’s IJ?”

Within 2 or 3 minutes of being cordial, he’s like, “How are you doing?” I was like, “I’m good.” He’s like, “How are you doing? I know it’s pretty hard now in your industry and what you guys are going through.” I was still hesitant because it’s social. I’m like, “I’m not going to lie. I’ll be straight with you Paul. It’s miserable. I’m not having any fun. Not at all.” He’s like, “Here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to get together. I want to get so-and-so. Let’s get 4 or 5 of us. I want you to line out what we need to do to change the business because I hear you. We do need to make some major fundamental changes. I want to listen and we’ll change it.”

I hung out with them for twenty minutes. We didn’t talk about business. In the next week, we didn’t have a three-hour meeting where I was almost running the meeting, laying out what we needed. We built an audit department, a QC department, and a lot of different things. It comes back to Kenny as a multiplier. He set it all up.

Kenny didn’t need credit. He gave me his seat at his table to sit next to the CEO because that’s the person he was. He was the guy who would have run through a wall for like all day. He did those little things that were smart behind the scenes. He knew that it would be bad for NVR if I left the company. He went, got in someone’s ear, and said, “You should go talk to them.” I guarantee you. He set all of it up. He pulled all of those strings.

He never went back and said anything about it. He just did it and made it happen.

We never talked about it again.

LMSM 90 | Multiplier Or Diminisher

Multiplier Or Diminisher: People who work under a diminisher say that their job was more like cranking than creating. In a meeting, they would do 40% of the talking and would always give specific feedback.

 

This is important. I’ll get the personal story. Kenny, the same guy. Ian and I both have different stories but similar messages. This guy knew how to get the most out of people. If there was someone to take a bullet that worked at that company, that guy was on the top of a bunch of people’s lists. Was he perfect? No. He pissed me off more than once. He would sit in meetings and ridicule people. He called this little Italian guy, “Sausage.” He called this guy who was Paulding, “Movie Head.” He was an offensive dude.

He said it like he was a walking HR violation a lot of times. The thing about him that was incredible is he knew how to get you to think that he had your best interests at heart. He was good at it. He cared about you deeply, even though he would make fun of you, push you, or grind you. That is a multiplier. That’s why we talk about him together. We didn’t plan that. That came up because he’s that guy.

Let’s pivot to something different, parenting. My wife went out of town over the weekend. Whenever she comes back from being gone a couple of days, she’s like, “It’s incredible how much better you are at helping.” I’m like, “I always want to help but I get out of rhythm.” Kids have rhythms. You understand what they need so you can help more.

My oldest is three and my youngest is one at the time. The one-year-old requires a lot of attention about time at bedtime. My three-year-old gets an hour’s worth of TV. Those are precious moments for him. He gets to sit in from a 65-inch screen and stare at it like he’s mesmerized. There’s a negotiation every night. This is what I did while she was away. She goes, “If this works, I’m going to be in Florida. I’ll work two days in a row.” I will time her like, “Max, I got to get your room ready.”

I could walk downstairs and shut off the TV. I could drag them upstairs. What I said to him is this, “I’m going to set the timer for seven extra minutes. What do you think?” He goes, “Okay.” He’s excited. “When the timer goes off, I want you to stand up, turn off the TV, use the red button, come upstairs, and meet me in the bathroom.” He’s like, “Okay.” I’m like, “That’s our deal.” He goes, “Okay.” I go upstairs. He comes running upstairs seven minutes later like clockwork. It worked three days in a row. My wife’s like, “That’s awesome.”

He’s three. He understands what’s in it for him. He gets extra TV. It’s a big deal. What’s in it for me? I could go control all that stuff but I’m teaching him to be a grownup. You have responsibilities here. You’re getting a reward. For the reward, you’re going to have to turn off the TV and take yourself up the steps. What I’m trying to do is multiply. I’m trying to get him to be self-reliant. For a kid who’s three, that’s pretty darn good. Those are the little things. Those are seeds that you plant as a parent that will get you to a different point later. The time to do it is now.

I see people who swarm over their kids and are all over. When I’m at a park, I stay back. I sit like twenty feet away and let them deal with things if something happens, he falls or gets hurt. Even if he falls, get up. Give them parameters. To me, that’s what a great multiplier does. They give you parameters. Don’t run in the street. Don’t drown. Stay between those two places and go. That’s what it’s all about.

There are so many parallels between helicopter parents and diminishers, helicopter parents and micromanagers. Me, as a dad, I’m way more into nature or nurture. I let them figure some things out on their own. I let them fail and don’t yell at them all the time so that they hide things from me. I know the stuff I got yelled at. I would end up hiding from mom and dad when I was a kid. I figured the more I yell and get emotional about things, the more they’re going to not want to tell me the truth. There’s a lot to that.

In the study, the author finds that multiplier managers have ways of extending the intelligence of the team. People on their teams reported that they got smarter around multipliers. People working for multipliers said things like, “She got 120% from me,” which the author was dubious about. That didn’t even make sense. You can only give 100% but it’s not true. You can give 100% of what you think you have. We all know the brain can always expand. It can always give more. We’re not using all of it. Multipliers stretch people outside of what they think they’re capable of. They get more from people than they know they had.

The author was skeptical of this, so she did some research. There have been a bunch of studies on this. The University of Virginia had one study on intelligence where they looked at a subset of poor children who were adopted into upper middle-class households. The poor children from one environment to the next, their IQ rose on average by 12-18 points. By being in houses that had more books, by being around educated parents who read more, who read the paper, and who had more professional careers, the bar was raised. Their vocabularies went up.

A great multiplier allows people to do what they want but with parameters. Click To Tweet

There have been similar studies that show IQs drop over summer vacation when kids aren’t tested and they’re not reading. My mom and your mom could tell you the same thing. My mom was a principal. She said she was always big on giving a number of book assignments for the summers because she would see a noticeable drop in intelligence when the kids came back from taking too much time off.

For me, the takeaway here is if you choose the wrong work environment, it can hurt your intelligence. It can make you dumber. I always talk about this. Some people are misguided about what loyalty means. There’s a price to pay for being loyal to an environment and to a company and having a manager who’s a diminisher. There’s a price to pay for staying in that environment too long. It starts to erode your capabilities, skillsets, and both quantitative and emotional intelligence. These things start to wear off on you. Whereas, working for a multiplier or for a manager who trusts you, gives you autonomy, and makes you think can improve your intelligence.

There are a few things with this. We joked about going away for a few days. You feel a little dumber after a trip to Vegas. You just do. On the way out, you read a book. On the way home from Vegas, you are asleep or look at your phone.

Your mind is dry heave.

For sure because you’re screwed up. Did you ever see the movie, Three Perfect Strangers? It’s a documentary. It’s about these three kids. They did this weird stuff in the 1960s. They took three identical twins at birth and separated them. I wanted to prove the difference between nurture and nature. Nurture is your environment. Nature is what you’re born with. These three kids ended up in these incredibly different places. The crazy thing is these kids did not know about themselves. They all grew up like 60 miles apart in three different directions but it was all around New York state.

This guy goes to college and bumps into someone. The guy doesn’t know him. He goes, “You got to meet this other guy. You’re not going to believe you look identical.” They’re identical twins. It goes through. He talks the entire thing about science and the difference between nature and nurture. I would ask you to ask yourself this. In your career, have you ever worked with someone who was incredible then you pivot to someone else who’s not as good of a manager? What does that feel like?

It feels like someone filled your entire pockets with rocks. They’re like concrete shoes. They’re grabbing you. It’s like any of those things. You’re like, “What is happening here?” It leads immediately to discomfort. There’s usually a standoff. Either you confront it, you quit, or someone else who’s a good manager sees it and moves you. That’s the difference. It’s that start.

The other thing about expanding your intelligence is if you have a true micromanager. I’m going to go back to Kenny. He used to say something funny about our CEO. Our CEO was the worst. He was a crazy diminisher. He was a micromanager. He swung from multiplier to diminisher back and forth. When we went through the great financial crisis, he went into crisis mode. We’re going to talk about this later. There are times when you have to get controlling. Usually, it’s in a recessionary environment and in a crisis when you are trying to not go bankrupt.

I remember he used to joke, “I’m going to come in one day. There’s going to be a CD-ROM on my desk. I’m going to say, ‘Plug it in,’ and it’s going to pop up my computer and tell me what to do all day.” He was complaining about the micromanagement that he was feeling at the time. The truth is when you go through an environment like that, you aren’t learning.

When you work for a manager who tells you every task to do all day, how can your intelligence improve versus another one who says, “Here’s what I want you to get accomplished? Here are the results I expect from. You use all of your creative faculties to go figure out how to do it.” That’s going to make us smarter. That challenges your brain. I look at it as like if you have a taskmaster above you.

LMSM 90 | Multiplier Or Diminisher

Multiplier Or Diminisher: Multipliers know how to get you to think that they have your best interests at heart. They may push and grind you sometimes, but they really care about you deeply.

 

That’s only using one side of your brain. If you have another one that’s stretching you with goals and telling you to figure out how to get there, that’s working a whole different side of your brain. Your intelligence is going to go up with a great manager who gives you some flexibility on how to do your job because it forces you to think.

Ian, who is Sully?

Sully, the pilot?

He’s the guy that land the plane on the Hudson River. Takes off and smashes into a bunch of birds. Engines die. He’s got to land the plane. He was a diminisher during that moment. He told you what to do and how to do it. He had a plane crash and nobody died. They took them to court and they went through this whole FA thing. They did a whole movie on it. They tried to say he made the wrong choice and he didn’t. He made the right choice and kept everybody alive. In a life-or-death situation, do what you want. Do exactly these five things and if you do, you will live. That’s where there’s a diminisher.

That’s where Steve Jobs comes back to Apple and says, “These are the things we’re going to do to survive.” These are the things Paul Seville did during the great recession that said, “We are going to live and survive. We’re going to make it. We’re going to get stubborn because this will get us through.” To Paul’s credit, when they came out of the recession, he took a slightly different role.

He invested money in outsiders. Third parties came in. It was time to grow again. Once Steve Jobs stabilized Apple and they did it through a couple of computers, then they moved to the iPod, which became the iPhone and the iPad. It blew up but you need stability first. That’s where that person comes in. It’s not an intelligent thing. You’re just broke. That’s Kenny’s joke about CD-ROMs telling me what to do.

I’ll talk about this for a second about unintended consequences. Who you surround yourself with and what you put in your brain matter. Here’s an example. I was told if I wanted to be rich, I should read The Wall Street Journal. I forgot who told me. I started reading it in my twenties. I hated it. I was in college in my twenties. I would always ask myself, “Where is the sports section?” It was terrible. Three decades later, what I can tell you about The Wall Street Journal is some days it is boring but I understand things and see patterns.

I’ve been reading it almost daily for three decades. I can connect the dots. I’ve seen this. I’ve heard this. I’ve seen that before. It happened in Chile. Now, it’s happening in South America. “This sounds familiar.” It starts to give you clues. The other thing is reading books. You read 30, 40, or 50 books a year. Let’s say it’s 30. Over three decades, that’s 900 books. If you’re not reading the same book with a bunch of pictures, you get smarter.

Where does that manifest in every part of your life? In your conversation and vocabulary, these are the things. As a manager, if you’re forcing better vocabulary and habits. You’re doing these types of things. You’re making people smarter and achieve past themselves. Max is acting like a 5 or a 6-year-old because I’m giving him the ability to do it. If someone treats him like a three-year-old, he’s like, “What is this? I can do more.” I want him to always think he can do more. I want him to have belief in it. That’s what a great manager does.

These two different managers think about resources differently within an organization. What the author found was multipliers use the logic of leverage in how they want to grow. They want to leverage the same resource that they have but unlock them. Whereas, a diminisher thinks about growth as, “I have to always add resources.” The reason is they argue for allocation. A diminisher is more expensive to an organization. There is a number of reasons why. They’re always heard saying things like, “Our people are overworked. Our best people are the most maxed out. The only way to get better is to add more staff.”

Multipliers use the logic of leverage in how they want to grow. Whereas a diminisher grows by always adding resources. Click To Tweet

The reason why is that a diminisher believes that they’re the only genius. I need more minions to go carry out my genius ideas. What happens is those people stop giving more of themselves. They limit themselves to only the ideas coming out of the mind of the diminisher. All these people are just carrying tasks out. If you have twenty people that report to you and you could unleash all of their ideas, you’re going to get more done. If you limit yourself to your own ideas and experiences, you have to add more resources all the time to get it done.

Whereas a multiplier looks at the resource allocation task. Top management is less important than the task of resource leverage. It’s not about keeping the same task management and taskmaster management style and asking people to do more with less. It’s changing your style, giving up control, allowing more autonomy, and getting more leverage out of everyone’s ideas in the organization. Leadership style can unlock better results without adding people.

There’s a caveat here, Frank. Many companies say, “Do more with less.” We’re going into a recession. We’ve got inflation. You’ve got high input costs. Companies are going to be cutting people. If you have diminisher managers in your organization, now is the time to root them out and replace them with people that will listen to the resources left.

If you’re shrinking your resources and your team and you have lesser employees than you had before but you’re being asked to deliver more revenue, you better have managers who are great at pulling ideas out from people and moving resistance out of their way so they can do more with less. If your style stays the same, it doesn’t make sense to say do more with less. You can’t physically do that with more hours. The only way to do that is with better ideas.

We’ve talked about this concept more than once here. If you go into a recession, you don’t necessarily need the most experienced people. You need the best people. You need the people who can get the most out of not only themselves but others. That’s what you’re drawing at. I’ll be completely honest here. I was a sales rep and a terrible manager. I was bad. I was awful. I was figuring out how to be a salesman and I was pretty good at it. I figured it out in the first 120 days. They stuck these SMAs with me, which are sales and marketing associates. It was these young kids that had graduated from Virginia Tech.

I stuck with them. I was terrible at managing them. I was having such a hard time getting the job done and staying ahead of quota. They asked me to train people. I was bad because I didn’t know what I was doing. I hadn’t gotten to a proficient level in my job. I was a shit manager. I look back at that period of my time. It’s not my proudest. I was bad at it because I didn’t have the skillset. What do I do with that lesson? I look at it from two different perspectives.

From the perspective of a new person doing a job, it might be too soon for that person to train someone new. We have to think about that. Are you ready for this? Can you handle it? “If you’re feeling overwhelmed, come to us. Talk to us about these things. It’s okay if you think I can’t manage this person. I’m having a hard time doing my job. We’ve all dealt with that.” That’s part of it. If you get through that moment and look at it, you got to be empathetic and say, “I’m through it now. How do I get better? How do I share? How did I learn?”

Those are the ways that you can go from someone who’s a diminisher to not being a diminisher. We’ve all dealt with being a diminisher. As a child, you’re a diminisher. You take resources from your parents, from your mother. That’s how it works. Eventually, you can become a peer or a caregiver. It takes time. You have to work through it. It’s much a moment of paying attention to where you are in that cycle. People who have a tendency towards multipliers are the people you want to invest in. “I see you’re struggling with this.” Pull them aside. Have those conversations. Unless you want to teach everybody yourself, you have to have people who can do it. It’s a big thing.

There was a quote in the first chapter of this book that we’re talking about. Tim Cook comes in and goes, “We need to raise revenues. There’s one rule. You can’t hire anybody else. Figure it out.” That’s a great multiplier. “I’m giving you the rules. Figure it out. You’re all smart. You work for Apple. Probably a pretty hard interview process to get in there. Go do it.” That’s what they did. They figured the piece out because they were given parameters. They were told, “Here are the rules you can’t break. Go.”

Many of the differences between these two types of managers are in their mindsets. The author uses an example. She was working with the CEO of a 4,000-employee company. It is a big publicly-traded company staffed largely with highly educated people from top global universities, some of the smartest of the smart. After a meeting that she sat in with the senior staff, he confided in her that he typically only listens to a couple of people in any given meeting because no one else has anything to offer.

LMSM 90 | Multiplier Or Diminisher

Multiplier Or Diminisher: Multipliers have ways of extending the intelligence of the team. They know how to stretch people outside of what they think they’re capable of. They can get more from people than they know they have.

 

She remembered staring at him like, “Do you believe that? You’re wasting a lot of money.” As we walked by all these cubicles, she was thinking, “This guy thinks that there is a bunch of order-takers in this organization.” It’s this fixed mindset that intelligent people are a rare breed and other people will never figure out things without them. That’s the mindset of a diminisher. Frankie, it’s Carol Dweck’s, Mindset book. All the research she did on mindset is similar. A diminisher has a fixed mindset. A fixed mindset is, “Intelligence and capability are carved and installed.” That’s what someone with a fixed mindset has.

I’m going to interrupt real quick. There’s a line from Star Wars and it goes loosely like this. “The Sith is the only one who speaks in absolutes. Evil is the only one who knows everything. It is or it isn’t.” It’s a closed mindset. It’s the same thing as what we’re talking about here where it’s fixed. You have a fixed mindset. It is evil.

Diminishers believe that, one, people who don’t get it now never will. People can’t get smarter. Their intelligence can’t get better. Therefore, two, I’ll need to keep doing all the thinking for this organization. It’s back to a CEO of a 4,000-employee company saying, “I only listened to a couple of people.” That’s classic diminisher. Whereas in the mind of the multiplier, “There are smart people everywhere who will figure this out and get even smarter in the process.” They also have the humility to say, “I don’t have all the ideas. In fact, I don’t have many ideas at all. I hope this team does or we’re in trouble.”

It’s that confidence that you’re talking about. Tim Cook is so much different than Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs was always a diminisher. He was always the genius with 1,000 helpers. Tim Cook’s like, “Hey.” We’ll get into this. He’s the steward of the biggest brand in the world. He knows he’s loaded with talent. He has a different mindset about how he leads and runs the company. He sets high goals but he gives a ton more autonomy to people to think for themselves.

In our last episode, we talked about the person from AI, who walked in and said, “I don’t like this, this and this. Please give me a resignation.” Tim Cook can accept that resignation because Tim Cook knows there’s someone else behind him who can do it. There’s an awesome story. I don’t know the specifics well enough to give the specifics but I’m going to give it in a broad context. The coach that I work with is Daniel Marcos. He’s with scaling up. I’ve been working with him for a few years. He works with huge companies. He works with like the biggest concrete company in all of Central and South America. They’re a Fortune 50 company essentially of Central and South America. They’re huge.

They’re having a problem with receivables and getting money in the doors. The idea came from an hourly employee of how to speed up. The receivables came from someone at the bottom. There was this massive organization struggling with something as simple as, “How do you get in the door?” Someone who is connected or pretty close to the workers is the one who had the idea. They completely revolutionized their collection cycle and blew up in about. Their profitability went through the roof because of something small that came from someone at the front end.

If you pay attention and listen to people who see things every day, they’re not in the C-suite. They’re not removed. Their hands are dirty. Those people have incredible intel if you’re confident enough to listen to it. It’s up to you as the owner or that person to implement it but that’s where great ideas can come from. That talks about what a multiplier can do.

The author, Lisa, says there are five disciplines of a multiplier. We’ll go through four of them. The first is attracting and optimizing talent. This is the empire builder. They are good at finding and keeping amazing talent. For me, whenever someone says they’re a great recruiter, I don’t consider someone to be a great recruiter who’s just a salesman who’s good in the interview and bullshitting. After three months, if that person is sold a bill of goods that’s different than they were told in an interview, they leave anyway. You’re not a great recruiter if you can’t keep someone if you tell them stories to get them in.

Great recruiters are good at attracting talent through referrals and social proof. Frank, I’m sure you’ve had this. I’ve had the opposite but I’ve had people in interviews that were referrals from employees who say, “So-and-so says you’re an incredible manager.” I don’t need to sell them a lot because someone they trust has already said they love working for me. Social proof is powerful. It always has been versus a diminisher who gets resources and wastes them all the time. They get them in because they’re genius. You’re like, “This person’s smart,” when you’re talking to them but quickly you find out that they’re so smart. They don’t think anyone else has any ideas and working for them is miserable.

I love that you brought up Star Wars. When diminishers look about recruiting, they tend to divide resources into those they own and those they don’t. It’s a little bit like the Evil Empire and Darth Vader. Classic villains see the world as uncompromising. They see anyone else’s gain as their loss. That’s the same thing that a diminisher does.

If you have diminisher managers in your organization, root them out and replace them with people that will listen to the resources left. Click To Tweet

A diminisher sees someone else having a good idea as a threat to their brand or ego. “Is someone going to find out I didn’t come up with this idea? Is someone going to find out that I’m a fraud?” It comes from a lack of self-confidence. You might be smart but you’re probably the kid whose parents told you were smart your whole life. You’ve built this whole aura around yourself of, “I’m smart and I don’t know how to handle anyone who challenges that.”

It’s either that or it could also be an impostor. It’s someone who has impostor syndrome that isn’t strong enough to look at those people underneath them. You use examples all the time about war. You use 300, the Roman Empire, and the World War II. Patent got a bad rap at the end because Patent had to do everything himself. Who was elected President out of World War II? Eisenhower. He relied on everybody around him because he was a multiplier. That’s how it works in mythology, fiction, movies, and reality.

In general, multipliers attract talent and keep people. In my personal experience as an executive and as a manager, I’ve found that if I had a boss, what was most important is you gave me the freedom to run this thing the way I wanted to. You could give me the hardest goal in the world. Are you going to let me make decisions? Are you going to let me do it the way I want to? If you are, cool. I’m good with you setting the bar high. Bill Parcells had this thing that he said when he was with the Cowboys. He wanted to be the general manager and the coach.

He said, “If you’re going to ask me to make an incredible dinner, you should let me do the grocery shopping. If you want the bar to be high that this restaurant is going to run well, let me put the menu together and do everything that I’m looking for.” That’s the way most people feel. “You can hold me accountable. I will love to work for someone who lets me use my brain and go find a way to get the results they want in my way and not their way.”

The second thing that they found as a strong attribute of a multiplier is that they are every bit as intense as diminishers and maybe even more. Multipliers are good at raising the bar on a goal but they give you a lot of autonomy. A multiplier will stretch you more. They will give you a bigger goal than a diminisher will. People who work for them think that the environment is challenging but it’s also thrilling.

Some of the quotes from this author were, “Working with her was like an intense workout. You got things from me I didn’t know I was capable of. I would do almost anything not to disappoint him.” Whereas a diminisher acts like a tyrant. Everything is about judgment and the fear of judgment. They set the goal but they’re also incredibly specific in how you reach the goal. They focus only on metrics. If you’re with a boss that can’t have an intelligent conversation with you from a coaching perspective about how to get better and do things a little better.

All they ever do is say, “You’re missing the number.” They talk about numbers. That’s because, one, they don’t have confidence in how to coach you. Two, they probably don’t have a solution. They are always specific. What’s interesting is a diminisher doesn’t hold you as accountable because they know deep down that they gave you all the ideas on how to do it and some of those ideas might not be right.

Whereas the guy who lets you do everything your way will give you a huge goal and say, “You got all the rope you want. You got all that you can get. Stray as far as you want but you can also hang yourself with that rope. Go hit the result. Go hit the number. I’ll stay out of your way. Come talk to me when you need to.” I don’t know about you, Frank. I love managers like that. They’re like, “This is the number. Figure out how to go hit it.” You could give me the biggest number you wanted. I was cool with it. It’s like, “Thank you for trusting me to do it my way.”

We’ve covered it. The equally intense person that we’re talking about here is a great coach. It could be simply summarized like this. “What language do they use?” The diminisher who operates like a tyrant talks about me and I. The multiplier talks about we and us. That’s what it looks like. That’s a simplistic definition of what those two things look like. Let’s go to the next one.

Multipliers are way more collaborative. They engage people. They debate issues. They ask people to challenge their ideas. They say, “Here’s something I’m thinking about. Tell me where I’m wrong.” They’re confident enough to listen when that happens. Versus a diminisher where decisions are made behind closed doors or with the help of a small circle. All the decisions have to come from 1 or a group of 3 or 4 minions who also are not connected with the organization.

LMSM 90 | Multiplier Or Diminisher

Multiplier Or Diminisher: Classic villains see anyone else’s gain as their loss, and that’s the same thing that a diminisher does. A diminisher sees someone else’s good idea as a threat to their brand and ego.

 

In a diminisher organization, every decision feels like an edict. It feels like an initiative or a policy. It feels like ideas are always coming out of left field or you’re getting whipsawed. There’s always a new idea. There’s not a lot of room for debate. It needs to fail horribly for you to change. Even though you’ve worked in an organization like this, corporate will come out with an idea and you’ll think, “That’s going to crash and burn,” but you don’t say anything.

You work for a diminisher, so it’s your way of pushing back and saying, “I’ll let this fail.” You hear the diminishers all the time say things like, “Get on board. Is that person on board? Are they on board?” I’ve heard that so many times from bad managers. Whenever I hear someone saying, “They need to get on board, or are they on board?” that’s normally someone with a confidence problem that isn’t good at being challenged.

I don’t know how to sell the agenda. I’ll give you a fast story that moves us to the next point. I have someone that works here. She was a referral for me. She told a story four months in. I didn’t think anything of it. She said, “On my third day, Frank said, ‘What do you think?’” I was like, “I would ask you that.” She goes, ”The last place I worked, I worked there for years. Nobody ever asked me about anything.”

That’s the difference. I care about every opinion. I’m not going to necessarily act on all of them but everybody’s got a voice and I want to hear it. If you’re going to be in a meeting with me, I want you to be paying attention, not on your phone, not on Facebook. I want you to tell me what you think. We’ll synthesize the information and take it somewhere but there could be something brilliant in there. It doesn’t need to be overlooked. Let’s go on to instilling ownership.

Frank, let’s wrap up all these attributes. To me, being a diminisher is an inefficient way of managing. The reason why it’s inefficient is you always need more people and resources when only one person out of a whole group has the ideas. Your ideas are based on your strengths, your capabilities, and your talents. Let’s say Frank has an organization of 50 people. They all have different strengths. Every single person that works with Frank has different strengths, capabilities, and intelligence levels.

If you let them have some creativity in how they go about doing things. You’re a more efficient organization than someone who says, “Here’s how to do everything. My ideas have to go.” That’s why the diminisher is always asking for more people, more employees, and more resources. They’re forcing an inefficient process on people not based on the strengths of their team.

There’s nothing to add there. People who think they can do it are the types of people who bring you along with them. We didn’t use the word excuses much here. You and I are talking about a story before the show about the excuse. Diminishers come up with excuses. “I can’t do this because of this. We can’t do this because of that.” Those are excuses for the diminishers where the multiplier looks at and says, “This is the problem. These are the timeframes. These are the assets that I have available. We’re going to set some goals. We’re going to build some benchmarks. We’re going to go do it.”

What that feels like as an employee under one of these people is, “I have agency over my life. I have agency over my career. I get to pick. I get to choose. I get to be here.” We’re at full employment. People get to be at places. Under a diminisher, they want to leave. Under a multiplier, they want to stay because they think their future is brighter here. There’s more in it for them in the long term.

Here are some of the surprising findings about multipliers. One of them was they have a hard edge. They’re beyond results-driven. They’re tough. They’re exacting. They make people feel smart and capable when they go hit those. They let them come up with their ideas. They don’t do it by being touchy, feely, feel-good managers. They hold people to a tough standard because they’re letting them make their decisions.

I have a little baseball example. I have to bring youth baseball to every show. In baseball, when a kid is at the plate, they look at their coach, either on 3rd base or 1st base. You give signs. You can tell them to bunt. You could tell them to fake a bunt. You can give multiple different signs but one of them is to take, which means don’t swing here. There are a lot of reasons not to swing. You might be trying to steal a base. You don’t want him to hit a line drive, a new double play. You might be showing a bond to see if the third baseman comes in.

In a diminisher organization, every decision feels like an edict or a policy. Click To Tweet

A big reason why you give someone to take early is to see if the pitcher’s throwing strikes. Some of the hitters get frustrated. They say, “If I give them a take often on the first pitch, then they’ll come to me and say, ‘Coach Matthews, you always give me a take and I always get the juiciest pitch on the first pitch,’ which statistically doesn’t make any sense.”

I would say, “The last three times, I didn’t give you a take on the first pitch. You swung at one over your head. That’s a silly thing to do.” I have one kid who kept complaining. I said, “Swing away. Swing away this whole game. Here’s what I’ll tell you. You better swing at strikes. You better find your pitch and only swing hard. If you get it, you can rip it.”

What did he do? First pitch, the ball skipped a foot in front of the plate. He’s taken a daddy hack on it trying to hit there. He looks over me. I’m pissed but I’m grinning at him. I’m like looking at him like, “This is why I have trust issues.” That comes down to a multiplier. You trust a little bit but you also have a high standard. You can be tough and exacting. “You asked me for control. I gave you control, so I’m pissed at you for swinging at that.” Whereas, in if I was specific and everything, I can’t be mad if I’m telling them what to do on every pitch.

Do you know who Harry Hogg is?

No.

Harry Hogg is the Pit Chief in Days of Thunder. Days of Thunder was the movie equivalent of Topcon put into NASCAR. Topcon was a big success.

I remember the movie but I can’t do with a race car.

Harry Hogg is the pit crew leader. He says to Tom Cruise who’s a new driver, “You’re doing it all wrong. I’ll make you a deal. You do 50 laps any way you want and you do 50 laps my way. If you do 50 laps my way and you give me an honest run, I’m going to beat you.” He shows a scene at the end. He goes, “His way. My way.” His way, the tires are all mangled. My way, the tires look great.

He goes, “I was six seconds faster.” That’s the perfect leadership. Go try it. If it doesn’t work, try it my way and let’s see what’s better. Sometimes that works. Sometimes, there’s a third solution. There’s a compromise. You got to have the ability to let people try a little bit of both. If you’ve got the right subject, they’re going to listen.

Another thing that they found is that multipliers were not only more exacting and had a tough edge. They also had a great sense of humor. Multipliers were more readily able to laugh at themselves and see the comedy and error in life’s foibles. Their sense of humor has a liberating effect on people. I totally agree with this. We were talking about Kenny who was a multiplier. He is hilarious. He’s self-deprecating. He’d make fun of you, of himself, of the company, and made fun of life’s events.

LMSM 90 | Multiplier Or Diminisher

Multiplier Or Diminisher: Multipliers are more readily able to laugh at themselves. Their sense of humor has a liberating effect on people. For a diminisher, anything that goes wrong could be perceived as a sleight in their armor.

 

Everybody’s fair game.

It didn’t matter. Since multipliers readily admit that they don’t have all the ideas, their ego can stand some self-deprecation. Whereas, all the ideas have to come from a diminisher. Anything that goes wrong could be perceived as a slight in their armor. They care so much about what others perceive that’s why they’re diminishers. They can’t have a sense of humor about things going wrong. A multiplier doesn’t see every setback as an indictment on their intelligence because they have a growth mindset.

People with a growth mindset look at failure as part of the process. They can make fun of failure. They can look at it that way. Whereas, a fixed mindset sees it as a downgrade somehow in the way people perceive their brand. Good multipliers let their team know it’s safe to try new things. It’s safe to fail as long as you do it with all your effort and you work hard. We’re going to laugh about it if something goes wrong.

There’s a line and you get another relevant 1980s movie, Good Morning, Vietnam. “Funny is good.” Whatever you could add humor, it makes things better. I’ll get that for you for the cold open.

Wiseman talks about the accidental diminisher. I think this is a cold reality. There are well-meaning decent managers who are completely underutilizing their people even though they have great intentions. Some managers who have been working for diminishers for so long end up adopting all of their bad habits. It’s monkey see, monkey do. You do what you see your leaders doing. We become the leaders that we accept as employees.

I was incredibly fortunate to have multiple multipliers as my first managers at GE. When I finally reported to a diminisher five years later at GE, I saw it. I knew it. I saw through him. It was like he was transparent about how phony he was. I made my mind up within three months, “I’m not working for this dude. I’m getting out of this company.” I left GE. We talked about talent magnets.

He was a diminisher and a talent repellent. I was gone. I was making the company a lot of money but I was gone. I was like, “You suck.” I was lucky that those first five years I had multiplier after multiplier bosses. The first time I saw a diminisher, I was gone. I knew if I worked for this guy long enough, I’ll become him and I don’t want to become him. I’m going to go to a place that lets me continue to be a multiplier.

We use a lot of sports analogies here and I’ll use one. You see a kid who graduates from one of the best college football programs around. They go to a shift team and usually have a great year. By their 2nd or 3rd year, they’re getting hurt. There are all these problems. They don’t materialize. In some instances, the player had screwed up or did something but in a lot of instances, it’s because of the environment.

You get this incredible person whose wheels fall off. For every Matthew Stafford, there are 25 people who got drafted by a crap team who had incredible talent but something went wrong. Some mismanagement and it falls off. There are two ways to go back. You can have manifest testing, which is what he ended up. He said, “I’m not doing it. I’m leaving. This person’s going to ruin my career. I have enough confidence in myself. This is the wrong move for me. I need to go create,” and leaves.

The other thing is managers look at it and say, “I’ve got a diminisher in this role. I need to get this person out in order to allow people to grow.” It’s something I’m dealing with internally here. We’ve got someone in a role here that needs to go. They’re finally going because they think it’s everyone else. The reality is there’s not going to be a ticker-tape parade.

Funny is good. Whenever you could add humor, it makes things better. Click To Tweet

No one’s going to mourn over this person’s loss. We’re going to thrive, throw a ticker-tape parade that they’re gone because it’s going to unlock other people’s potential. It’s a tough place to be but it’s something that happens regularly. You got to understand how to manage it. You got to understand if you’re dealing with it and you got to be real about it.

A couple of final thoughts here. Frank, do you think there’s a difference in style that’s needed for an early-stage startup versus a big company?

I alluded to this earlier and the answer is yes. Like everything else, it depends. What type of startup is it? Is it a startup that’s on a shoestring budget? You need a diminisher who can get results more than a collaborator. Is it something that’s like a startup inside of the government? They have those. For example, when TSA was a startup many years ago, they needed to have most likely a collaborator. Someone who could build because it was a huge outfit, start well-funded. It much depends on where it’s starting up from and what does it hope to become.

When you’re creating something from nothing, it’s hard to ask your first few employees to be coming up with all. You’re inventing. It would be like me trying to hire someone to paint for me. Say, I’m building a painting business but I’m not good at painting. You’re going to be my first employee. Paint some beautiful stuff and I have the rights to it. When you’re creating new stuff, you need a forceful. The founder has to have the initial ideas and they need to be good or the company doesn’t go anywhere.

It boils down to this. This is relevant based on what you’re saying. I didn’t understand exactly what the concept but you’re driving it until now. You need to have a USP, a unique selling proposition. You need to have a product. You need to have a service. You need to have something. That could be a collaborative process but there needs to be something certain to drive around. Until you have it, you need someone that drives towards it. That could be collaborative in a lot of instances, especially with small businesses.

Keep became Keep because, in the beginning, David drove and pushed. He said, “We’re going to get this product out,” and that was what it was. You gather enough people around the mission and start pushing for the mission. That’s when you need to have someone who can also become a collaborator or a multiplier. You have to have the idea first. Without the idea, you can’t get anywhere.

The other question that I had as I went through these concepts is, ”Are there times when a diminisher is more valuable than a multiplier?” You’ve touched on it a little bit. Let’s take Sully. Sully had all of 30 seconds to make some decisions to not kill everyone on that plane. He didn’t have time to pull all of his people together and say, “Let’s take a vote. I have some thoughts but I would love to get your take.”

At that moment, Sully needed to say, “I’m going to lean on every bit of my 30 years of experience flying and I got to make some decisions quickly.” He didn’t have time to be this all-inclusive, “Let’s get everyone’s opinion.” He needed to make decisions that people needed to get on board. The way the CEO, the CFO, and the President of our mortgage company got prescriptive in what we were going to do.

I can remember when they were doing that, Frank. You probably felt the same way because we all grumbled about it. We thought they were going way too far. “Have they lost their minds? Some of the decisions we’re making here with the mortgages, with land, and with getting out of deals are so conservative.” I remember all of you were complaining, “We’re going to ruin every developer relationship. We’ll never have one again. I can’t believe we’re doing this. They’ll never work with NVR when times get better.”

It wasn’t true. They have been through more recessions than we had. They had scars that we didn’t have. They knew that if they were to ask our opinion, we might come up with some bad ideas that could lead us to bankruptcy. In those moments of crisis, being a diminisher and a micromanager was the right approach. Guys get on board because we don’t have room for error. We can’t fail too much with big decisions.

LMSM 90 | Multiplier Or Diminisher

Multipliers: How The Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter

Tattoos and scars are not the same things. It’s a line in a song. I don’t think there’s anything to add to that. Ian, that’s it. People who have seen and done it get it. I’ll close with this. There’s a time for everything. I’ve talked about it in this episode. There were times when I was a diminisher when I was a young manager or a young performer. I didn’t know how to manage. In a recession, I am prescriptive because I have a plan. I know how I’m going to get through it.

As I get bigger, I do get other people’s buy-ins to make sure that it’s not just me. You have to know where you are, what moment you’re in, and what role you need to take. In multipliers, it’s one or the other. You’re either a multiplier or you’re not. You’re a diminisher. I disagree. There are moments where you should be a multiplier and moments where you should be a diminisher. We’ve already used the example.

When I’m with my kids and one of them is about to drown, I’m going to be a diminisher. I grab them by the back of the neck. I’m going to make sure it doesn’t happen. That’s the moment where you become prescriptive in business. You don’t ask for a ton of opinion. You make sure you don’t die. Those are those things that you need to be good at. A lot of the time, if you build enough rope and are in those moments very firm, then you get to be a multiplier more of the time because you know you’re not going to drown. That gives people rope and the ability to grow and multiply. There’s a combination of it.

Similar to my little baseball player that wants to have more autonomy at the plate, I’ll joke with him that you’ve earned yourself some micromanagement. You’ve not earned the autonomy that you are begging for because every time I do this, you do something that is negative to the team. When I see you doing something negative to the team, you earn my attention and a little less control.

I’ve said this to people over and over in my career as a manager. You are earning this micromanagement. Does this feel good that I’m calling you twice a week to ask you about something? Do you like this? You’ve earned all of it. I don’t like being a micromanager any more than you probably like it but are you earning it? Most people will say, “I’m earning it.” Can you earn your way out of it because I got other shit to do than follow up on you all the time?

Most people are getting micromanaged. If you feel that way, “I got a diminisher as a manager,” there’s a good chance you’re earning it. There’s a good chance that you’ve not earned their trust. Maybe that’s a conversation you need to have with your boss about, “What would it take for me to have a little more flexibility and freedom in how I make decisions so that I can get even better results?”

There’s a saying, ”If you don’t know who the idiot is in a group, it’s you.” That’s something similar. If it’s a new manager and we don’t have any press clippings on this person, who knows? If it’s an experienced manager and everyone says, “This person’s great,” and you’re feeling it, you’re the problem. Being honest about that is part of the art. It goes back to your example.

The takeaway of this entire episode and the reason I was pushing to do this is simple. It’s not complicated. It’s not some rocket science type of theme or something like that. I’ve got a Rubik’s cube on my desk. I’m trying to figure this thing out for weeks. If that’s harder, this is simple. Here’s what it looks like. You get more out of people if you’re a multiplier.

Organizations thrive, careers thrive, and results thrive if people are multipliers. If you diminish, it works against your organization, you as a person, and the people who work for you because turnover causes you to be trapped and pigeonholed and that’s it. If you are promoting more being a multiplier than more of being a diminisher, in the end, you’re going to have great results.

If you liked this episode, I would like you to send an email to Frank, telling him that he did a great job. Frank told me about this book. He went as far as buying me the book and sending the book to me. Frank put the outline together for this episode which is a rarity for him to do it. Being the multiplier that I am, I gave him complete autonomy and flexibility to do this episode.

If you like it, make sure you give him feedback. If you didn’t like it, send me the email and say, “It sucks,” so I can go pick on Frank after the fact and act like a diminisher, which is more fun for me in our relationship. The other thing I will say is about the idiot thing that you said. That feels weird between the two of us. If I think you’re the idiot, that makes me an asshole. If I’m not sure you’re the idiot, I’m an idiot. I feel like I can’t win. As you were saying that, I was trying to decide who’s the idiot between us. Could it be that we’re both idiots then I could feel better about myself if I know we’re both idiots?

It’s like I started off with multipliers. Sometimes, you’re a multiplier and sometimes you’re a diminisher.

Maybe we’re always idiots. I don’t want to diminish our audience who loves to follow us if things were incredible but you might be learning from two idiots.

Is this a guy an idiot? He’s full of shit.

Be careful implementing too much of what we say because you could be learning from two idiots, not just one. Franky, great episode. You did a great job on this. I’m proud of you.

What I love about this, Ian, it was succinct as well.

 

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