No doubt there are hurdles each of us face on the path to professional success, but often those obstacles are of our own making. Linda Henman shares guidance to help executives, business leaders and virtually any professional get out of his or her own way.
As my clients began to emerge from the global economic turmoil that began in 2008, they indicated they had learned numerous lessons — the most important one: When leaders make good decisions, little else matters. When they refuse to make decisions, or show a pattern of making bad ones, nothing else matters.
As I helped these leaders position themselves for the new economy, I began to see what others didn’t see: Something was standing in their way — usually the unwillingness or inability to make a critical decision. In many cases, they thought they needed more — more education, more experience, more time or more data. They didn’t realize they had enough of these, but they lacked the confidence, courage and optimism to make the tough call. Here’s what they did that you can do to overcome barriers to decision-making:
- Surround yourself with smart sounding boards. Concentrate on what’s right, not who’s
- Know when you have enough data, and don’t get distracted by inconsequential facts. Focus on the critical few, and put aside the trivial many.
- Start with a goal, keep it in mind and don’t let the priorities of others interfere with your priorities.
- Constantly ask yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing.
- Lead with logic, not emotion. Too often logic makes us think, but our emotions make us act.
- Face your fears — both the fear of failure and of success. Remember, no matter what happens, no one is allowed to shoot you.
- Get out of your comfort zone, and force others out of theirs. Comfortable people don’t improve themselves or their circumstances.
- Kill your sacred cows, make burgers out of them, and forget “we’ve always done it that way” arguments.
- Seek trusted advisors, but eschew unsolicited advice. Listen to the experts, not the also-rans.
- Keep your sense of humor. It probably won’t alter the caliber of your decisions, but you’ll have more fun, and others will like being around you more.
Through our work together, my most successful clients realized they could no longer push growth. Instead, they had to remove barriers to success, and usually these barriers were of their own making. They needed to understand how to leverage their strengths and remove their blind spots to move beyond what they thought possible.