30 11 2016

“Courage is fire, and bullying is smoke.” ~ Benjamin Disraeli

There are 3 kinds of decision makers.  First, you have the naval gazers (many of you Googled that last month).  These are the people who are asked to come up with a plan, and then they execute it like the man in the cartoon below.  Ready, Aim, Aim, Aim, Aim and they never pull the trigger because they’re worried about either the consequences of failure, or are afraid that they don’t know what they don’t know.  The second are the ones that go off half-cocked (maybe the bully comparison from above works here).  They get started without thinking.  They are more like Ready, Fire, (oh, drat), Aim,  and try to fix their mistake by changing what they executed.  That may mean stopping everything and re-training, or it may be an instant fail, in those situations where you only had one chance to get it right.

Leaders, try being the third type… The corageous ones who go ready, aim carefully, and then fire.  Think about as many consequences and obstacles, have a plan for dealing with them, then pull the trigger.  You may not hit the target on the first try, but you’ll be going in a good enough direction that someone will be able to give you the guidance to shift your aim just a bit closer to success.  A car that is parked can’t get anywhere (the first type) and a car that drives off a bridge can’t get any further (the second type).  A car that drifts a little to the right or the left is much more likely to make it to it’s destination.

Speaking of fire…


Rubes cartoons used with permission. www.rubescartoons.com


Where there’s smoke, there’s a fire to prevent.

12 12 2014

“I’m not saying my wife’s a bad cook, but she uses a smoke alarm as a timer.” ~Bob Monkhouse

Here’s how a leader can take over a problem, and fix it.  The problem can be a new company, a business relationship gone sour, a department, or even an unhappy employee.

Step 1 – Find the biggest fire, find out why it started, put it out, prevent it from starting again

Step 2 – Find the next biggest fire, lather, rinse repeat.  When all fires are out:

Step 3 – Look for smoke – determine why something is smoking – don’t add air to the smoke, turn down the heat.

Step 4 – Look back at what you did, look for trends.  Was one person the root cause all around, was it one philosophy, or just a lack of planning?

Step 5 – Put together a plan to avoid future issues, and paint a vision (strategy) for where you’re all going to be going together.

Step 6 – When things start to slide off the path you’ve built – reinforce the vision/goal/place you’re going, and continue to move there with your team.

You can’t spend your career reacting to problems like the first 3 steps above, but you also can’t move a ship forward while it’s on fire.  Have a great weekend.

Speaking of alarms and smoke…


Rubes cartoons used with permission. www.rubescartoons.com