Showing Your Work

When we were in math class, we were asked to “show our work.” How did you arrive at this answer? What’s the thinking that led you to this conclusion? If a student shows their work, the teacher can see their process and help them get back on track if that’s necessary.

As leaders, we’re often asked to make a decision or share an opinion. And in those situations, we might be tempted to show our work. We want to give the evidence that supports our conclusion, to armor our decision against pushback with the sheer preponderance of our proof. 

But the people we’re talking to don’t need this evidence. They want our concise, confident recommendation, not paragraphs of process. In fact, the longer we take to prove our point, the more work we show, the more we lose their confidence. 

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