Monday, January 12th, 2015

THINKING, DECIDING, ACTING—KEEP THEM SEPARATE

I got quite a bit of response about my last writing on “firing your team”.
“How could I ever do that in one fell swoop? I’d be sued.”
“I am not settling. I’m collaborating and compassionate.”
“Everyone has flaws. So do I”.

The idea of setting high standards and holding your people to them or getting better people in those roles seems to have brought out the most cautious and compassionate side of leaders who responded. I was once named Mother Teresa by a CEO so I know the tendency to keep seeing potential, rather than reality.

But the responses made me think about a dynamic I see in executive leaders.
They often confuse, “thinking, deciding and acting as one thing in one moment of time.  If I think about it, I have to decide.  If I decide, I have to act immediately.  This then leads to not thinking. Some top leaders get stuck in thinking but most are stuck in action mode as their default.

So do yourself a favor and begin to separate these processes even if you have them take place in one meeting. It’s almost like a gavel is needed to make sure you don’t confuse them.

So about firing your whole team:

THINK–In your imagination wipe the slate clean.  Talk with a consultant or HR leader.  Who would you be relieved to see go?  Who does it scare you to think of losing?  What is missing to round out your capacity?  What new skill needs to be present at your table.  JUST THINKING. Allowing insight. New perspective. Radical ideas.

DECIDE–Given your thoughts about firing your whole team, what do you now know?  What decisions need to be made?  Who can be developed to higher performance?  Who probably leaves to move to a different role or company?
Where have you lowered standards too far in order to accommodate? Decide on what seems to hold true for you.

ACT–Plan out action to support decisions AFTER sitting with the decisions for
awhile.  Then think about how to take action.  Should you do development conversations with your whole team?  Should you only take action on the one most important decision? If you have large action to take, should you proceed slowly or all at once. Who do you need for support?  Do not press the ACT button until you are grounded in your own gut. Ever. 

Most top leaders have to act quickly, often pushed by events.  Even so, separate thinking, deciding and acting. I think it will serve you well 

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