Thinking less, doing more

“Be like a civil engineer.  When he is building a road and he encounters a swamp, he doesn’t rail against it.  He simply figures out what he must do to get his road built through or around it.”                     – Srikumar Rao

I find that I get into the mindset that everything that goes wrong somehow needs to be turned into a life lesson and that is not a good thing.  There are certainly mistakes that need to be evaluated and discussed so that learning can take place but that definitely does not apply to any and all mistakes or issues arise during the course of a day.  Quite frankly I think that my tendency to do this can cause “discussion exhaustion” in those around me.  At first it can be invigorating to have these types of discussions when it is something worthwhile but when every misstep turns into a 30 minute dissertation, then I have gone too far.

Leaders have to think about incremental value in these situations and determine if there is additional and measurable value to be gained from the discussion or if it is “good enough”.  We also must allow people to learn from their own mistakes and not pile on by wanting to talk about it like some type of industrial psychologist.  I am beginning to lean more towards the model of taking action and letting the conversations happen as they may instead of trying to talk about everything before we do it.  I have always been a fan of “acting your way into a new way of thinking” and not vice-versa but need to reinvigorate my efforts towards that end.

Ultimately this is the strategy versus tactics discussions and I am coming down on the side of tactical strategy.  There is only so much talking and thinking that can be done before someone actually has to do something and the leaders main job is to shorten that cycle so more action is taken in towards achieving the goal.  Perhaps the reason there is so much talk is because there has been no clear vision and goal provided to the team that would allow them to focus their actions accordingly?

This is certainly something for me to consider…




Filed under Complexity, Leadership

2 responses to “Thinking less, doing more

  1. Lisa

    Excellent points, crosses into parenting too. When I see their eyes glaze over I know I have hit that threshold. Should have stopped 5 minutes before that moment.

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