Over the years, I’ve noticed that when things get really tough or it’s difficult to identify strategies during planning, there are always three strategies you can try. My clients seem to love it when I describe the Solution to them. Try it yourself.
Strategy #1: Try Get More Resources?
This is the most popular, but usually the least successful and the most maddening. This strategy, more than the other two, usually results in working harder, rather than smarter. Inexperienced leaders usually prefer this approach, thinking that if only they could get more money or more people, then they’d throw more quantity (not necessarily more quality) at the problem. Experienced leaders usually opt for one of the other strategies.
Strategy #2: Extend Deadlines to Get Things Done?
Ironically, this is the approach that’s most frequently used – and used by default. Regardless of our plans in life, reality usually overtakes them – and we become so busy doing other things, that the deadlines in our plans tend to slip. Sure, we lament that deadlines have slipped (if we even admit that to ourselves), but still we’re a little relieved – and surprised to realize the world hasn’t crashed around us.
Strategy #3: Reducing Our Expectations?
In today’s hectic and goals-based world, even the mere mention that we should do less very often evokes strong reactions from others, especially from bosses and collaborators. “Well, aren’t you a leader? Then do more with less! Motivate yourself and your people!” The irony is that very experienced leaders have learned that you’re often far better off to do a few things very well, than continue to live with the continued frustration and disillusionment over unsuccessful attempts to reach unachievable goals.
So the next time you’re in a tough situation, think of these three strategies – what I call the “Sanity Solution”. Think especially about strategies 2 and 3, and live a longer and saner life.
What do you think?
Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD – Authenticity Consulting, LLC – 800-971-2250
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