Make tough decisions sooner

I had lunch with Sarah Speake today, an awesome female leader who is…in her own words..having it all. Sarah has 2 young children and is Google’s Industry Leader for Technology. By any standard this is a serious job and yet Sarah leaves the office at 5pm every day. Compare this to the lady that I met for coffee this morning who works in banking and was last week called to a 1am conference call that lasted until 4am …no, not an International call but a UK based call and all participants were on GMT!

Anyway, I digress from our tools for effectiveness. Sarah and I spent a long time chatting about the fact that, as women, we generally have a harder time making the tough calls. Not only do we find it harder because our brains are wired for empathy and connection but we are labeled with nasty expletives when do. This is called a double bind. In other words, you can’t win because you will be damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

However, we must rise above the politics and make decisions that are best for the project, the business, the goal or the outcome. I often get push back on this (from men and women who have a more feminine brain) who say that people are more important than work. I think this is too black and white and too simplistic. If you care deeply about the quality of your work and the end game then work should be of value to you too. I’m not advocating putting work ahead of people but sometimes we need to make tough decisions for the sake of the business and the only way that I can do this without causing myself emotional trauma is to imagine that the business is my baby and I am responsible for its welfare. It might sound strange but re-framing it in this way shifts the emotion to another place where it can be a force that works with you rather than against you.

How many times have you procrastinated over tough decision because you didn’t want to ‘upset’ the person or the people only to realise that because you left it so long the relationship deteriorated more than it had to?

I have learnt in my career that it is best to make the tough call as soon as you can using the emotional strategy above, if you need to, and bearing in mind that you are releasing yourself and others for even greater work than you could have done together.

The fifth tool for increasing effectiveness is make tough decisions sooner.

With passion!


PS if you want to hear more about Sarah Speake she will be writing an article for our next newsletter and so make sure you sign up for the newsletter at our website

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