Believing in the power of education

Stephen Mitchell

Leader, Speaker, Trainer, Consultant, NED

By - Stephen Mitchell

Its good to talk…

I recently posted about Simplicity, and how it can cut through complex issues and give everything a purpose.   Talking can be a really powerful way to getting to simplicity.

The last week has been anything but simple, but I can see how applying those principles has allowed me to keep the end result in focus and carve a course through the choppy waters that I believe is the best way forward for us.

One of the challenges over the last week has been prioritising, and often prioritising the priorities.   I’ve seen staff this week skip team meetings because they are “too busy”, I’ve seen my own stress levels rising (and sleep diminishing) as I work to get targets met and I’m conscious that I’m getting ever closer to the wall and not being able to see over it.

I know that I need to step back from operational things, look up, scan the horizon and steer the good ship Work to its future direction but sometimes its hard, particularly when there are so many pressing needs.  Well intentioned, planned out diary schedules can be turned to confetti in seconds by a telephone call which throws up entirely new issues.

I am a big believer though that you always have more time to make a decision that you necessarily think you have.  And with time can only come greater clarity through more information being at hand.  That has been particularly clear this week, and on reflection, is something that I am getting to understand as the years go by.  When I look at the leaders that I admire in my career, they always seem to have this annoying trait of not making instant decisions.   But they’re usually right, and they make a better decision because when the decision is made, new information is at hand.  Its a trait something I’m trying to adopt.

Going hand in hand with the above, is the benefits of talking things through.  I was up and on the way into work this morning at 07.30, and I made a phone call as soon as I got in the car (handsfree phone), and I kid you not, I didn’t finish talking until 10.15, and I’ve had several other conversations with the same colleague during the course of the day.  We spent hours going over and over a particular issue that is vexing us this week, discussing the merits of arguments, countering those arguments, playing devils advocate, getting on the fence, getting off the fence, clambering back over the fence, deciding to get a whole new fence to end up back where we started.   It was though incredibly useful conversation.  A lot of people I know at work see me spending a lot of time talking to colleagues and think it is wasted time, that we should act quicker, not communicate and think as much, but I think that would be a tragic mistake.   We’ve ended up at a position this evening that whilst unchanged from where we were 24 hours ago is much more certain and we have a greater conviction in our belief. I am 100% confident that when new information comes to light tomorrow, as it surely will, that we are better placed to respond to it. Ultimately we will have to make a decision.  There is a very firm end point to all of this and we will have to commit, or not, but we’ll do so with the best information we can have, and a carefully thought through plan