“Wait and see is not a strategy!” – Futurist Jim Carroll
Many people spend their time waiting for clarity – clarity that never comes.
Many executives are waiting for the uncertainty around us to end – when the fact is, uncertainty is our new normal.
Many of those same executives are unable to make a decision when letting indecision become a foundation for your action is now one of the worst things you can do.
All of this flowed the first version of this post: “The first step in getting ready for the future is to know about it. The second step is making the decision to actually do something about it!” The more I thought about it after getting it ready yesterday afternoon, the more I realized it all had to do with the attitude that ‘we’ll just wait and see!‘
What do great leaders do?
They don’t ‘wait and see.’ They act, despite the fact they often can’t see!
They forge ahead despite uncertainty; they don’t let indecision cloud their actions. They make sure that everyone is aware of what’s next and what to do about it. They seek out and destroy the cancer of delayed decision-making: they know that groups and executives who are constantly pushing back deadlines or postponing important choices are a blight upon future success.
They make sure there is a clear vision of where the organization is going. I’ll often joke that for a lot of organizations, their guiding light is the phrase, “We don’t know where we are going but we’re making great time.” It’s meant as a joke, but often, it’s true. They don’t allow the organization to become bogged down in data, reports, numbers, and the ‘insight’ that leads to the much-observed disease of “paralysis by analysis.” They know that the search for ‘perfect insight’ to make a ‘perfect decision’ is a misnomer and that it is often better to make bold, decisive moves in the absence of unclear or incomplete information.
They embrace ambiguity, accept volatility, align with complexity, and thrive on uncertainty. VUCA – volatility, ambiguity, complexity, uncertainty – is their middle name, and they accept its constant presence. They know that our ‘new normal’ is not something to be feared, but something that needs to be accepted and embraced.
They know that decisiveness is crucial – time matters because the future truly does belong to those who are fast. They pursue the tough decisions despite the risk, often knowing that a decision in the absence of clarity most often works out better than the absence of no decision at all.
They are agile. They know they need to be flexible and adapt to constantly changing circumstances. The only certainty they have is knowing that tomorrow won’t be like today and that they can’t keep doing tomorrow what they are doing today. They long ago learned that otherwise, they are following the path of insanity forged by so many before.
They battle aggressive indecision.
They never let anyone say, ‘We’ll just wait and see.’
They don’t wait, even if they can’t see.