I asked my daughter to finish her food and she responded by saying, Mama, I'm done with the food because I just pressed the DONE button.
The DONE button is something that is in our heads when and only when, we are confident that the product is good. But how do we know that it's good enough and ready to be let go?
The quest for perfection is the number 1 cause for leader's ambivalence and general uncertainty. This is the inability, when presented with options and alternatives, to buckle down under the weight of false pressures, mostly the fear of failure and the insidious 'what will other people say.'
The DONE button is always there and should be taken as the first option so that things are cleared off your plate and you can get down to juicier projects or roles.
It is up to us to make sure there is a DONE button when we are 60% almost complete. Rewriting, rewiring, rehashing, reimagining many ifs and buts do not translate to meaningful use of time and energy.
We can always go back and check what we have done, in light of new data or new appetite for reconsideration.
The rest is just icing on the cake.
An intervention at the right moment, with the right degree, and with the right approach can lead to savings (clap, clap), and prevention of future troubles for the organization.
The longer you wait for external assistance, the less control you have of the situation.
The less control you have, the more chances of stagnation and decline in quality of management.
That decline can lead to more personnel problems down the road.
Sitting on the problem or doing it yourself can create an enormous amount of risks, unknown and unidentified.
The leader has to take action and create opportunities for solutions to emerge.
Are you waiting for the problem to surface or are you solving them before it erupts on your face?
Let's face it: it's more expensive to clean up afterwards.
There are many upsides of the crisis and while we are enjoying some of the restrictions taken off in Stage 2 and 3, we need to appreciate the lasting impacts of the benefits of these restrictions in our lives and organizations.
1. Less meetings we don't need. Virtual filters all the non-essential, repetitious, and dull meetings with no agenda or objectives in mind.
2. Less travels we don't need. Non-essential travel ban forces us to look at our travel plans and adjust to whatever can create enjoyment without crossing the border and spending monies on hotels, flights, in-ground transportations, and other splurges.
3. Less time to be inundated with people wanting to talk to you to get something. The pandemic forces us to be more respectful of people's time and mindful of how we come across to them, being positive and always offering value.
4. Less time to tinker and float around. No, this is not the time to ease on the gas pedal. We can be mediocre and comfortable with routines but this time, it calls for greater vigilance and response-ability to changing dynamics every couple of weeks.
5. Less time to feel down and out. The less time for work can give us the focus we need to spend more time with families and hobbies that can rejuvenate us.
What other upsides do you experience in the recovery stage?
How can we build a lasting legacy of positive effects we can internalize now and moving forward?
My three-year old gave me another line of insight. We were doing an exercise for preschoolers where we had to connect the dots to identify the character.
I guess this is a bit of no-brainer, but I met a lot of executives and business leaders who were so enamored by an approach, methodology, or tactic that they couldn't see past it to get to the big picture. Thousands of dollars were wasted on useless trainings or apps that only palliatively addressed an issue in the organization, mostly cosmetic or good-to-have in the course of a highly-political or contested situation in the organization.
Is it because of looking good to the outsiders or it's about allaying the fears and skepticism of the higher-ups that middle-level managers go to the 12 steps or programs and get enough funds dispersed. After the initial euphoria and looking back, they realized that they don't have to do all the administrative, bureaucratic, and consultative arrangements to get to the root cause or suggest a solution.
People, connect the dots quickly, not on the paper but by making intelligent guesses with evidence that you can see on the ground and act in that manner.
Don't be a super-hero in your organization.
The office is not burning.
They can live without you, even prosper.
Do you actually add value with your presence?
Your co-workers are adults. They make their own decisions.
Paper pushing is not considered work.
Don't make a to-do list. Make an outcomes list.
Stop editing yourself all the time.
Don't feign attention. Attention is for crucial matters.
Don't choose your successor.
Brainstorming is a waste of time. Get someone to do the basic thinking process.
Who has the time to make notes for everyone?
Less is more.
Bring value every time.
Counterintuitively, those that are the best and brightest needed more help than you think.
They don't mince words and have the courage to pursue their goals despite and in spite of obstacles.
They don't settle for the mediocre-they push the boundaries of the limits that they find themselves in.
We can't afford to chase those that are not ready, not willing, and not able to be helped in general. This applies to organizations whose bottom workers cannot and will not be saved with the amount of investments in motivation, retraining, and financial rewards.
There are tons of people out there who are already doing amazing work.
The people who are depressed, suffering, and immobile have the tendency to wait for enormous amount of time, second-guess their moves, and incoherent about their processes.
Help those who are already leading and learning all the time.