Leadership = Do the Next Right Thing

Michael asks “What should you do when you don’t know what to do?”  In the times when he felt lost, out of his depth, uncertain, unsure whether he was the right person in the role…  All the great moments of self-doubt that I know I share…

His mentor’s answer?

“Do the next right thing.”

The full post at Michael Hyatt’s Intentional Leadership blog: “What to do when you don’t know what to do“.  I think it goes further than that.  This is not a recipe for rare moments of doubt.  This is a powerful framing of leadership.

There is a time for Managers, and a time for Leaders

When a team is winning, the captain needs to be a manager.  When the team is losing 3-1 at half time, the captain needs to be a leader.  Doing the same but better is going to lead to a 6-2 final score.  The team has to do something different.  This is when the captain must lead.

However, when leadership is made into something too big, action paralysis sets in.  Self-doubt assails the leader and leads to delay.  Leadership needs focus.

Leadership is “Do the Next Right Thing”

Do.  Action.  Leadership is about action.  Nothing changes without taking action.  Knowing what to do but not doing anything is the same as not knowing what to do.

The Next.  The professional knows where he is going, but never allows his mind to go beyond the next step.  He knows that this will lead to a feeling of overwhelm and the little voice inside his mind will tell him to stop.  It is only by keeping extreme focus on the Next that action is possible and sustainable.  The amateur takes on too big a goal.  He lives in a cycle of building frustration leading to a moment where he decides he will act.  He now sets a massive goal for himself and for a day or two manages to exert maximum effort towards this overly ambitious goal.  Three days later he realises how much work is still left and drops back into a depressed state and stops the action towards the goal.

Right.  What is necessary.  What is correct.  What fits with your values and effectively moves you in the direction of your overall goals. Not what others think you should do.  Not what you think others would expect of you.  Not what you parents want.  Not what your friends want.  It is what you feel is right.

Thing.  Specific.

Do. The Next.  Right.  Thing.

“I will act now.”

The great failures do not come from a lack of strategy, or a lack of knowledge about where you would like to get to.  Few people wake up in the morning with a goal of being unhappy and frustrated.
True failure is lack of disciplined action.  This is not the failure of not achieving a goal, not winning a game…  but the hideous failure of having left a life unlived.

“You only need 20 seconds of courage in a life”.  Where are my 20 seconds?  How many do I have left?

4 comments

  1. […] When in doubt, just take the next small step. […]

  2. I am truly grateful to the holder of this web site who
    has shared this great paragraph at at this time.

  3. Hello Conor

    I hope you don’t mind if I post my comment in Spanish, as I wrote down some thoughts some time ago about this issue. Decission making is one of my favourite topics (easy to talk about it, not so easy to execute). Here it is:

    *********

    “En cualquier momento de decisión lo mejor es hacer lo correcto, luego lo incorrecto, y lo peor es no hacer nada.”

    Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919), presidente estadounidense

    Hubo un tiempo en el que tenía que despachar frecuentemente con un ejecutivo bastante poco amigo de la toma de decisiones. Cada vez que le llevaba un análisis me preguntaba “¿Estás 100% seguro de que tienes contempladas todas las causas de por qué estamos sufriendo esa caída?”. Por supuesto que era imposible garantizar ese nivel de seguridad que él pedía, y hubiera resultado infructuoso el haberle tratado de explicar la Ley de Pareto y el concepto del 80/20. Es decir, ese esfuerzo adicional que pedía en seguridad, no aportaba nada verdaderamente relevante a la toma de la decisión que se requería. Y si hubiera llegado a la máxima seguridad, hubiera sido tarde para la toma de esa decisión.

    Sin embargo, me sorprende la extrema habilidad con la que mi hija Paula adquiere nuevo conocimiento por un mecanismo que incorpora muchísimo más riesgo. Prueba, error, prueba, error, prueba,… el método iterativo parece no acabar nunca hasta que en cierto punto, consigue lo que se había propuesto, adquiriendo así una nueva habilidad.

    No sé en qué momento desarrollamos una extrema aversión al riesgo. Algún “darwinista” diría que en la Naturaleza el error no está permitido, porque el animalillo que lo comete cae en las fauces del depredador, perpetuándose el fenómeno de la supervivencia del mejor adaptado.

    Lo cierto es que las empresas afortunadamente cuentan con mecanismos que amortiguan esos riesgos como pueden ser la diversificación de cartera, la “caja” que permite superar ciertos periodos sin ingresos, la diversificación de mercados,…

    Por ese motivo me sorprendió muy gratamente el artículo de Paul B. Brown en Forbes: “What should you do when you don’t know what to do? Act first. Think later”. En él se propone que cada vez que te enfrentes a una situación en la que no sepas qué hacer, sigas una metodología muy parecida al mecanismo de aprendizaje de los bebés:

    1. Actúa
    2. Aprende / Ajusta (midiendo la desviación respecto al resultado esperado)
    3. Construye a partir de lo aprendido
    4. Vuelve a actuar

    Puede resultar sorprendente, pero cada vez más en el mundo de la tecnología es el camino elegido (¿no son las versiones “beta” un ejemplo de eso mismo?) y en el mundo de las start-up seguir esa filosofía “lean“ es prácticamente indispensable.

    http://marketingstorming.com/2013/03/19/que-hacer-cuando-no-sabes-que-hacer/

    La próxima vez que no sepas qué hacer, recuerda qué hacías cuando aprendías mediante la experimentación en aquella época que no levantabas un palmo del suelo.

    1. Fantastico 😉 muchas gracias por compartirlo!
      un abrazo

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Centrifugal Performer

By Milica Ilic

Manner of Speaking

"All the great speakers were bad speakers at first." — Ralph W. Emerson

breath2x2

breathing made easy

Anna S. E. Lundberg

Coach, trainer, mentor

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