Wading Through the Shiny Objects


As you continue to navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to remember that while all of us are impacted by this crisis, each of our organizations is dealing with a different set of variables. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all response. Of course, that has always been the case. The difference now is that, as industry experts and organizations are trying their best to be helpful — and the generosity being demonstrated is both humbling and inspiring — we can get so focused on not missing out on expert guidance that we delay making the decisions necessary to actually move forward.

When there are no clear “right” answers, it is easy to convince ourselves that if we just had more information we would know what to do. In our desire to make the best possible decisions for our organization, we run the risk of getting distracted by all the shiny objects out there . . .

. . . if I just watch a couple more webinars on how to lead through a crisis, this will all become easier . . .

. . . yes, I know I have already been on six calls this week about a this issue, but this one may have additional information that I haven’t heard before . . .

. . . I should probably find out what a few more stakeholders think and try to get consensus before I make a decision . . .

I have been on some great webinars and industry calls in recent weeks. The information and activities themselves are not the problem. They become shiny objects, however, when I allow these things to become distractions from my primary responsibilities in leading the organization. I love to hear the best thinking of leadership experts. It is really hard for me to make a choice not to carve out time to hear from a thought leader I respect . . . and yet, if I do that at the expense of making critical decisions in a timely fashion, I will be less effective at a time when my organization needs me to provide clear direction.

So what’s the best way to wade through the shiny objects in the midst of this crisis?

1) Clearly identify the decisions that have to be made, by when.

2) Understand that it is unlikely that any of the offerings before you will provide all the information you’d like to have before making a decision.

3) Recognize that there is no one “right” answer.

4) Know that decisions build momentum while shiny objects deplete your energy.

Have a clear goal. Embrace support where it is helpful. Seek out critical information. Provide direction and when necessary, make the hard decisions. That’s what leaders do.

Even . . . and especially . . . when they are surrounded by shiny objects.

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