There are things that work and many more that don't. Let's discuss what we've experienced . . . not our opinions . . . but actually what our days and nights as marketers, business leaders, parents, people are teaching us. Please give us a hand. Tell us about your experience with this stuff.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Which mistake are you more comfortable with?

We often have great leadership and management choices these days. We research the options, calculate the potential returns, try to understand the downstream implications to each decision, identify the risks associated with each and then . . . we have to decide:

What's the best decision to make?

Here's a little tool that often works for me.

While I'm looking at what's most likely to succeed or sometimes even which option is more likely to get executed, I find that no real certainty emerges. In many of these day-to-day decisions I ask the following question:

If both of these are a mistake, which mistake am I more comfortable with?

In other words, and not to be pessimistic, but if this turns into a failure or a mistake, which would I be most comfortable with?

For me, if I'm going to lose in a situation, I would like to do it on my own terms. Sometimes that's about minimizing human damage, sometimes its about cultural pain and sometimes its about just wanting to aim high. But in any case, if there is a problem I know I have to stand up and take whatever fallout there may be (most times the winners have plenty of people with deserved credit; but the buck stops with me on the losers).

So given that I'm playing for big wins knowing sometimes the alternative will happen and I'll need to shine the light directly on myself, then I'll choose the option which I will feel best about failing at.

Sure I probably need more therapy and know that this isn't for all decisions, but sometimes the math dictates that the potential realities of a decision must be faced before the eventual outcome. When I choose using this basis, I find that I can be more aggressive, I am more at peace and I am much less concerned about things not working out.

There are few people, managers or otherwise, who are more impactful on their situations, than those people who are not afraid to fail. This may help with that.

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