Todayâ€™s blog post is a guest post from Tom Harper. Tom is president of Networld Media Group, a publisher of online trade journals and events for the banking, retail, restaurant and church leadership markets (including the mega-blogÂ www.ChurchCentral.com). He is the author ofÂ Leading from the Lionsâ€™ Den: Leadership Principles from Every Book of the BibleÂ (B&H). Hereâ€™s his post:
What do you do when youâ€™re not sure which direction to go?
Most of the worldâ€™s highly successful CEOs, generals, presidents and athletes have made mistakes. Benjamin Franklin said, â€œDo not fear mistakes. You will know failure. Continue to reach out.â€
Even Einstein made mistakes. There was the cosmological constant, based on his erroneous assumption that the universe is static (itâ€™s actually expanding). Then there was his incorrect prediction of the rates of clocks on Earthâ€™s surface. He also miscalculated the electronâ€™s transverse mass. Pretty honest mistakes if you ask me.
Sometimes, when Iâ€™m not sure of the right direction, I try to follow Rooseveltâ€™s advice and do something. This strategy actually opens up new options. Tom Cooper, former COO of Access Management, said, â€œSometimes the very first tactic you execute changes your entire plan.â€
Consistently finding the best strategy requires occasional â€œfoolishnessâ€ in the eyes of your peers.
Paul writes, â€œâ€¦ God has chosen the worldâ€™s foolish things to shame the wise, and God has chosen the worldâ€™s weak things to shame the strong.â€ He is saying there is wisdom and then thereâ€™s â€œwisdom.â€
Pseudo wisdom is what most of us practice on the job. Itâ€™s the appearance of wisdom â€“ or better yet, itâ€™s simply persuasion. It may sometimes be correct, but itâ€™s not infallible.
As Iâ€™ve surveyed my own experience as well as dozens of books on strategy and execution, Iâ€™ve encountered two laws of organizational wisdom:
- It is impossible for a groupâ€™s best strategic thinking to go far enough, or be smart enough.
- All decision making is hindered by selfishness and emotion.
Heroic leadership, by-the-book management, and MBA-style strategy can only take us about 80% of the way. The truly wise leader is willing to try something radical and risky.
Propel yourself a few years into the future and look back on todayâ€™s issues â€“ what decisions right now would be the wisest in hindsight, but might look foolish today?
What others call folly may be exactly what your organization needs.