That Won’t Work

Since Mondays are days of new beginnings (“does the work week actually ever end?” you ask), let’s begin with some thinking on starts.

Not just start-ups, since there are starts everywhere in business. A project, a deal, a meeting – they all represent new beginnings.  As we start whatever those journeys may be, we need a few things. Most important, we know to have some sense of where we’re heading and how: objectives and strategies in business-speak.  We need to understand that there may be detours along the way that will require us to adjust some things – maybe a delivery date, maybe tactic, maybe even the entire place to which we’re heading.

Where many businesspeople get into trouble is when they maintain a firm determination to get to wherever it was they set out disregarding the detours.  That’s silly.  So is the opposite – seeing all of the possibilities and refusing to firm up one’s focus.  If the purpose of the enterprise or project can’t be expressed clearly and definitively, there’s a problem.

As a leader, your job is to define the mission, assemble the team to accomplish it, instill confidence, and provide whatever resources your team requires to get to the destination.  If you project an attitude of determination and success, your team will as well.  If you’re unclear or scared, your odds of success drop dramatically.  You don’t need to have all the answers; you do need to believe that the answers are within the team’s grasp.

One of the hardest things you need to be able to do is to say “Stop the car – we’re lost.”   Telling the team “that won’t work” feels like a loss since it’s an admission that something has gone wrong.  Not true.  “That won’t work” can mean the situation has changed or that you’ve learned enough from what you’ve done so far to recognize adjustments are required.

The leaders and businesses that fail are the ones afraid to admit something won’t work out loud and then to adjust.  Great leaders see the need and explain it to their team clearly.  Which will you do?

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Filed under Helpful Hints, Thinking Aloud

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