Something happened recently that really got me talking to myself. It was a humbling, empowering, invigorating, and actionable discussion, though my discussion partner wanted to do more talking than listening… Seriously though, I had a break through because of someone else’s bad “break“.
I often talk about actively identifying potential unintended consequences of a decision. Asking people who have different perspectives helps us find some of them. And together we can develop a well rounded solution – its the gold we are able to mine from respecting another person and their point of view.
I usually let ideas simmer – I find ways to be alone and sift through discussions about the same subject I’ve had with different people with varied levels of authority, gathering and organizing data. By being alone and closing my eyes, I try to tap into an unconscious examination. In golf training, its often referred to as “envision the shot” before you swing. Instructors want you to picture the ball being stricken, its flight path, where it lands and how it rolls, and finally where it ends up. Seeing the shot helps someone see the whole picture. It creates confidence in the decision and helps align the mind and body to accomplish a common goal.
This tool is effective in business as well. Envisioning a decision and “seeing” how it will start, what it will be like during the process, and what position it will leave us in once the decision has run its course is critical to gain understanding and command of a strategy. Building an engaged coalition around the strategy of people that can see it as well ensures that the decision will cut through the headwinds and storms that are sure to be part of the journey of a difficult decision.
Sometimes situations pop up that are unforeseen. In an instant, a friend of mine suffered multiple freak injuries that are very disruptive to her work. As it sits, her recovery period will be measured in weeks and months. But something truly special was revealed – her coalition for advancing her company are there, picking up the baton in her absence and finishing the race. Her team is not just part of a coalition, they are engaged in it. They are well informed, passionate about the cause, and are eager to see its goals accomplished.
The engaged coalition will overcome these challenges, without becoming the self professed martyrs and the baggage its drama brings. This drama, though may feel great to have everyone see how great they are, will inevitably prevent their advancement. Rather, they choose to treat it as something that needs to get done and they handle it. Do they even know this quiet execution is a pure form of excellence? That it diffuses the emotions that can derail others, and by diffusing it, they make doing the extraordinary their ordinary? Probably not. To them, its just another day at the office.
Lets continue to make excellence just another day at the office. Find ways to “envision the decision” and remove anything that is not excellent.