January 15

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Leadership hack 018 – direction is more important than speed

As a leader, you have limited resources.  Your time and energy are finite, and so you must put these scarce resources into what really matters.   It is very easy not to look up, not to step back and see the wider picture, or what Heifetz call’s ‘getting onto the balcony‘.

‘Getting onto the balcony’ needs to become a regular part of a leader’s routine.  Here are some questions that can help:

  1. Is what I am solving my biggest problem?  Am I making the progress I should?
  2. What type of problem do I face?  Is the problem in diagnosing what is wrong, aligning people around a solution or implementation the solution (see here for more information)?
  3. What are the drivers of the problem, i.e., what 20% of issues that contribute to 80% of the problem?
  4. Does my solution balance ‘academic correctness’ and ‘practicality‘?
  5. Am I taking my team/organisation with me?
  6. Are there patterns/themes that keep emerging?

Take the time to ‘get onto the balcony’ and get some perspective – you may see something no one else can.  Many people are are going very fast in the wrong direction, don’t be one of them.