Decisions may be divided into two options, act or accept. If the initiative is worthy of our resources and we may have an impact, then act. If we cannot make a difference or do not have the resources and motivation, accepting may be the best course of action.
Two great articles that articulate the challenges we face each day and the barriers that can push us off-course.
The first is a very funny article by Jay Goltz. His obsession with delegation is fraught with unexpected results.
The second is thought guru and innovator Seth Godin’s encapsulation of the essence of everything we do.
The difference between a day where I thrive or survive is predicated on my ability to ask better questions and make better decisions. How do you thrive?
What else do we need to know so we can say ‘yes’ was the question from the back of the room. Heads turned and the most silent of the meeting’s participants had just thrown us all out of the proverbial express boat to the island of No. It was a brillant question and it completely energized the staff and supporters of the proposal. Seconds later sheets of paper were filled with ideas from an immediate brainstorming session. Obstacles and objections were identified as well as strengths and new points of confluence with on-going initiatives. With one question the meeting had come to life, ideas were being shared, engagement was soaring, and camaraderie was building. It is easy to identify one way to say no. The real talent is discovering strategies that let you say yes.
Seth Godin’s post illustrates the defused power of no with perfection. I am glad to have seen the collation of no battled in the arena of institutional habits.
When reviewing history, do you do so with the benefit of hindsight or do you appreciate the realities that many decisions were made-it-up as you go. Listening to NPR’s Fresh Air program today, Terry Gross was speaking to Eric Foner who spoke about the realities of history when taken in a real-time approach. If you know the ending of the movie it is easy to see how the plot unfolds. When you research a past event through the lens of that moment, it becomes a different narrative. Appreciate that reviewing a strategic plan it is easy to see what activities resonated and others that were derailed. Creating a plan requires a real-time perspective. You are creating history but cannot judge your achievements until you have decided and taken action.
Recently, a colleague asked for a recommendation on Twitter. The vast majority of responses agreed with proposed course of action outlined in the tweet. Two people were adamantly opposed and offered another solution. Turns out the minority were uniquely positioned to offer the best recommendation. If the majority had ruled, the result would have been far less desirable. Can you weight your decision to acknowledge expertise? One attorney’s input on a contract may out-weight the conventional wisdom of your advisers.
What if you simplified your focus. One theme for the day, week or even year. Explore, ignite, engage, empower, learn, love, separate, evolve, energize, demand, relax, or decide.
What theme did you select? Humor yourself for a second and make a decision. Capture it and place it front and center. Can you affix a few key phrases or images to your theme? Once you decide and move away from all other options you are committed.
So much of our time can be spent planning that it is easy to fore-go making any real decisions. Take action. Answering one big question for your enterprise often yields far greater results than the most detailed strategic plan that preserves the status quo.