Involving others in new opportunities, problems, and ideas is extremely important. The intent in sharing information is typically a soliciatation for help. We want the feedback, creativity, and brainpower of every team member. However, timing and our own preparation determines whether the intent stays in tact, or if it has the exact opposite effect and causes others to worry and become distracted. People typically equate change to a negative event, even when the outcome has a high potential to be positive. The first reaction of most is to worry and question. This reaction can be a good thing when the timing is right – which is once we have done all the pre-qualifying. We actually want our team members to think like we have not, put forth new ideas, and to provide added value by exposing risks and additional questions we have not yet thought to ask.
So how do we pre-qualify? We should ask ourselves a few questions before involving others, such as: Do we know enough to involve others yet?; Will the outcome effect them enough to warrant the distraction and potential cause for concern?; Is this a real opportunity/problem that others need to be involved with?; etc. A good test for when it is time to involve others is to prequalify by asking these questions, and to have thought through things enough so that we already anticipate what the feedback will be. If we are prepared the meetings and feedback are much more powerful because we can move past the anticipated feedback and challenge each other to ask the questions that have not been asked.
Another way to think of this concept is “Brainpower Conservation”. We do not leave lights on in our house when there is no one home, and neither should we ask others to stop what they are doing and focus on something else until we have done the work and put forth the thought to make the timing right.