This second episode in this series of 11 is focused on taking action while finding answers. I would absolutely say of all of my mentors, leaders, and those that I follow and admire, this is a key trait across all of them.
We have talked about the fact that action must occur if you are going to create a successful business. You can’t solely be learning or strategizing, you have to act. But many times the perfectionism, the hesitation, and/or the reckless mentality of leaders derail those actions. So let’s go through this analogy for a second:
You are driving your car at 60 mph down a road when suddenly you start to see road signs that say the road is closed 1 mile ahead. Essentially the road has been destroyed and there is a huge cliff (per the signs). However, you look at Waze and it shows no issues. What do you do?
The perfectionist leader will pull her car over on the side of the road and just sit. She will wait until she can get enough information given to her from where she sits before she proceeds forward or turns around. She takes no action until she can determine the perfect action. This means she wastes time trying to find an answer that she will not be able to get by sitting still.
The hesitant leader will pull over right away, but then gets out of the car and will walk the 1 mile to check the road herself, then goes back to her car and keeps driving accordingly. This results in some action, she does get the answer she needs, but she wasted time being fearful, hesitant and doubting herself because she didn’t want to commit to any action, only to find the answer.
The reckless leader will keep driving at 60 mph towards the potential road hazard banking on the fact that the signs are wrong and Waze is correct. This is taking action, but it is reckless action because you could drive off of the cliff and die (in business terms, you could tank your business). Sometimes the risk works, sometimes it doesn’t.
The action taker that acts while learning sees the signs, sees Waze, slows down from 60 mph to 25 mph. She slowly approaches the area where the road is supposed to be damaged. She got to her answer as safely and as quickly as possible, she wasn’t worried about having to turn around and go the other way, she just wanted to know what she needed to do. Driving slower stops her from going off of the cliff. Driving forward allows her to find the answer quickly, make a decision, and take additional action to help her arrive at her destination.
This last leader is who you want to be. You want to find the answers but you want to keep taking action in order to get you where you need to go. Don’t pull over on the side of the road, don’t hesitate, but don’t recklessly drive off of the cliff. Act and learn. Do them both simultaneously. You will continue to pivot, grow, learn, and achieve just by moving forward a little more each day.
Do you believe a key trait of a successful leader is taking action while finding answers? If yes, do you embody that trait? If you don’t, how do you get yourself there?