Have you ever seen an email chain, where one person starts it with a question and copies people on it? Then lot’s of the people on the chain start to jump in, and work on the initial question, without asking, is this the right question to ask, or is this the right way to talk about it?
This is a common ready, fire, aim problem……sometimes the email is the wrong format for the conversation, or worse again, working on the wrong question.
A colleague I worked with years ago described the way he saw it working…..
…some boss at the top freaks out about something,
…they put the boot down on someone to fix it, who in turn does the same, who in turn does the same, who in turn does the same,
…..and it all culminates in someone walking up to me telling me to do something……
…..so I do it, and then go back to doing what I was doing anyway..
…..I never really know what the fuss is about……
Variations on this theme occur in most organizations at least some of the time. Adding up the wasted minutes of all the contributors to these ready, fire, aim problems, would make for sobering reading in terms of productivity.
Urgent thinking is not the most efficient thinking. This is where leadership really kicks in. A sense of urgency is a good thing for a leader to have, but even more important is the sense of direction. When you notice people reacting, or feeling a sense of urgency, stop and think, even for a second, to see if what is happening really makes sense.
As John C. Maxwell describes it:
“If you don’t change the direction you are going, then you’re likely to end up where you’re heading…”
Is this really urgent?
Is this shooting in the right direction?
Are we working on the right questions?
Is this the best format for this question to be discussed?