The Urban Dictionary defines Dumbing Down as:
The act of taking a product and watering down elements of it to make it appeal to a broader mass market. This often damages or destroys the very elements that gave the product any appeal in the first place.
As managers and leaders, we sometimes dumb down our work and products without direct intention to. How does this happen? I think a central reason is that we allow outside influences to trump our own commitment to quality and excellence. For example, there may be too much to do and you scrimp on quality, just to meet your deadlines. Or, there are “politics” involved in a project and you feel you have to please the various parties (watering down) to make the outcome palatable to them. Sometimes choosing to dumb down in this way is about being lazy. Instead of maintaining your commitment to quality and excellence, you take the easy road, detach from the project and decide to diminish the quality of the product, rather than hassle with others or find elusive solutions.
Dumbing down never serves you as a leader or manager. Have you dumbed down any of your work this year without intending to? What does your answer tell you about how you are leading?
photo: Stuart Miles, FreeDigitalPhotos.net