Saturday, October 20, 2012

The 50 Choices Dilemma of Leadership

What should I do next? Isn't that one of the most prevalent and confounding questions - and one that every leader, manager and professional faces many times a day?
That leads to what I call the 50 Choices Dilemma - a situation where all of the leaders I coach find themselves in more than they would like. Very briefly it looks like this: You have 50 things to do on your to-do list. Don't get me wrong, for many of us that would be a pretty good day. I am going to offer you 2 very common choices, and ask: Which one are you going to choose?
One more caveat - you only get to choose one of these options, and you never get to deal with the other. Here are your options:
· You can either choose to do the number 1, 2 and 3 priorities on your list, but you never touch the other 47; or...
· you can take care of priorities number 4 to 50, but you never get to touch number 1, 2 and 3.
Every competent leader and top professional knows what the answer should be. But when I ask this question, extending one hand to represent each choice, everybody hesitates, instinctively starts to lean a little toward the hand holding the 47, and thinks: "Forty-seven things off my to-do list? What a great day. How could I do that?"
We all know the best answer is to take care of the top three priorities. So why do we hesitate - or even think about choosing priorities 4 through 47? We all know common sense says: Take care of number 1, 2 and 3. The rest are secondary, are subsidiary, and we will be dealing with them ONLY AFTER the most critical ones are taken care of. But often we look at our rush of things to do, and we just attack our list.
The greatest failure comes from not even knowing what priorities 1, 2, and 3 even are. It is hard to choose the most effective option when that choice is not even clear. Always knowing what your top priorities are is essential for every leader, manager, and effective professional.
In fact, if you want to make your team and organization more effective, make sure everybody knows what priorities 1, 2, and 3 are. With that knowledge firmly communicated, everything will be far more successful and effective, and your performance and your results will go way up as well.
Knowing and choosing to act on priorities 1, 2 and 3 is decision making at the most effective, common-sense level. However, it is too rarely common practice. One of my primary messages to everyone who cares about outstanding performance and results is: When common sense becomes common practice, amazing results become commonplace.
Until next time,
Steve Lishansky
Steve Lishansky is a sought after Keynote Speaker, Hall of Fame Executive Coach and Leadership Team Facilitator.
He is an internationally recognized leader in:
* Creating high-value, high impact relationship and communication skills;
* Executive coaching and development;
* Facilitating exceptional organizational alignment and performance.
A trusted advisor to senior leaders, their teams and high-potential executives for more than 20 years, Steve brings a unique professional focus on optimizing leaders' and executive teams' effectiveness, performance and results. Among his legendary programs are: Strategic Alignment of Executive Teams™, Executive Coaching and Development, Becoming an Indispensable Partner™ (Building High-Value Relationships), and "Leading Self, Leading Others, Leading Teams."