Updated: Aug 15, 2019
“If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.”
Last month I wrote a message regarding how your mindset often determines the quality of your commitment to your actions. The choice you have is whether you regard the task in front of you as something you “Won’t Do”, “Got To”, or “Get To” do. But I believe that I left out an important facet of the first option, "Won't Do". That variable is: "Won't Do....Until I'm Ready" which was perfectly described by Albert Einstein in the quote above.
What causes people or organizations to act before they are ready? Do the circumstances in which they find themselves force them to abandon their mission, values, and goals and simply react? Or does the noise and chatter from the critics compel action without due diligence?
I often hear the idioms “It can’t hurt” or “it’s worth a try” as justifications for doing something. But is the return on your investment of time, energy, and resources worth it? Would the result be better if you did nothing at first (other than ask better questions)? And organizationally speaking, what is the cultural impact on employees who are asked to do something that isn’t well thought out?
To be clear, this option is not an excuse for inaction, but a prescription for the ailment of taking action to provide the appearance that you are doing something. When faced with the decision of whether to act now or later, I suggest asking yourself a simple set of questions.
Does this course of action support my mission, values, and goals (or those of the organization)? If not, it might just be a Shiny Object.Do
I really understand the issue, and if not, who can help me better understand?
What does success look like, and how will I measure it?
Once complete, you can determine your appropriate course of action, or inaction for that matter, while choosing if it is something you “Got to do” or “Get to do”. I would love to hear your ideas regarding more questions to consider. If you have one, please submit it here.