Lending Privilege

I just read about Anjuan Simmons’ “lending privilege” concept.  It’s great, and senior leaders should (must) take note. Fortune reported on a presentation Simmons recently gave at Github Universe, breaking out some of his key concepts:  

  • Credibility lending . . . happens when you provide visibility for someone that helps draw positive attention to their work. [Simmons] uses the theatrical example of talk show host, Stephen Colbert, swapping seats to let activist DeRay McKesson sit behind his desk. But inviting someone to co-present an idea to the boss would also work, or acknowledging their contribution in an important meeting.”
  • Access lending . . . happens when you provide access to information, locations or experiences that can help someone else grow their knowledge, or get a better sense of how your company works. A good example is an invitation to an executive meeting or access to specialized research.”
  • Expertise lending . . . happens when you acknowledge someone else’s expertise by giving them an opportunity to shine, like taking the lead on one of your projects.”

Here’s a small nudge for senior leaders: ask everyone on your top leadership team to attempt one of the privilege lending techniques described above. Set a meeting as a deadline, and at that meeting, ask the leaders to share their example, how it went, what they learned from it, and perhaps most important, what their “guest” learned from it.

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