You’re too nice – and that’s a problem


Develop a habit of shooting projects and ideas in the head not in the foot.

It is not my job to be nice – it is my job to make good, clear decisions that further the interests of the business – yet so often I can be tempted with laziness and fear of failure dressed up as compassion or fair play or worst of all incubation innovation. When I do this, I shot something in the foot since I was unprepared to invest resource as a priority when really, I should have shot it in the head.

If I am not going to commit to the success (and I mean commit resources) of a project, make certain that no-one else is either. That means targeting the wounded, unsupported projects that limp about the campus dragging their bloody stumps of project plans and milestones with them – and terminating them.

There have been mammoth Darwinian contests between equal teams that result in spectacular innovation and rate of progress, and I am not talking about those since their success involves at some point the ingestion of the rival or it’s natural demise – no, I’m talking about the hubris programs, the vanity projects that simply should not be drawing a single bean of resource from shareholders and staff alike.

My job is to be rigorous, apply the rules fairly and consistently and develop a habit of killing off stone dead an idea or plan whose time has not come or that I cannot provide adequate resources for given my current priority.

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my focus is not my priority


Focus vs. Priority : amongst the most frequently interchanged verbs of leader-speak, and by a long way the mistake that irritates me most consistently

Count the priorities you are given carefully – in my book if you have more than one then your leadership has failed you; very happy that you have multiple focus areas that support and validate your priority but please, you can really only be successful in achieving a single priority.

If you manage a team (let’s use the Sports team analogy), you may have a pretty clear priority at the start of the game. Win it.

Support your priority with focus areas:

  • focus on defence
  • focus on offence
  • focus on fair play

but the priority remains and resolves conflicts for resourcesFocus vs Priority Jamesstanbridge.wordpress.com or time – let’s say that a stakeholder has asked for more profitability. Should that become the new priority? you can’t have both “win” and “profitability” as priorities since they are clearly in conflict in many circumstances. If I allow both – should I sell my start player for a profit? If I pick just one as the priority and then the other can be a focus area in support of the priority and it all makes perfect sense. Refuse to compromise and drive for clarity in a single priority supported by focus areas.

What process should we as leaders use to boil our imperatives, goals, commitments blah blah to a priority and supporting focus areas?

Enlightened Self Interest is my favourite tool – what result is likely to see me [promoted, rewarded, respected, admired] insert what ever tickles your ego here

Test it out, if I call blah my priority, what are the focus areas I need to support that priority. Now test again, are any of these focus areas more properly the priority?

Go, start now!

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