“I never look at the consequences of missing a big shot… when you think about the consequences you always think of a negative result.” – Michael Jordan
When faced with a tough decision; study your options and make the best informed decision you can. Once you develop a plan of action though stop thinking and act; once you have decided what you need to do, dwelling on it makes you focus only on the possible negative result and it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
“When a distinguished and elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.” – Arthur Clark
Listen to the wisdom and experience of others, learn from it so you don’t make the same mistakes they did but also never stop questioning. There is almost always a better more efficient way of doing things.
“A wise man ought always to follow the paths beaten by great men, and to imitate those who have been supreme, so that if his ability does not equal theirs, at least it will savor of it. Let him act like the clever archers who, designing to hit the mark which yet appears to far distant, and knowing the limits to which the strength of their bow attains, take aim much higher than the mark, not to reach by their strength or arrow to so great a height, but to be able with the aid of so high an aim to hit the mark they wish to reach.” – Niccoli Machiavelli
Vince Lombardi put it a little differently, he talked about chasing perfection in order to reach excellence; this is the same concept and one we can all learn from.
“The best leaders we have studied never presume that they’ve reached ultimate understanding of all the factors that brought them success. For one thing, they retain a somewhat irrational fear that perhaps their success stems in large part from luck or fortuitous circumstance.” – Jim Collins
“Once the “what” is decided the “how” always follows. We must not make the “how” an excuse for not accepting the “what””. – Pearl S. Buck
“I am not there yet but I am closer than I was yesterday.” – Maria Carry
“We did the best we could with what we knew. Now we know better so we must do better.” – Maya Angelou
“Everyone likes being cheered for and praised; many people say they don’t but look at any sporting event. The greatest athletes of our time, paid well for what they do, perform significantly better at home when they have the crowd behind them. We are no different in our profession.” – Jim Kouzes
Make sure you take the time to praise your team; be sincere, it will pay off dividends in the long run. Form connections with your team, it makes the tough conversations easier and the reality is that you work harder for people you like than people you don’t.
“The object of all dedicated employees should be to thoroughly analyze all situations, anticipate all problems prior to their occurrence, have answers for these problems and move swiftly to solve these problems when called upon. However… when you are up to your neck in alligators it is difficult to remind yourself that your initial objective was to drain the swamp.”
This was on a poster that my grandfather kept in his office. It is easy to get so caught up in our day to day issues that we forget our mission. Make sure you take time daily to remind yourself and your team of the mission and make sure that all your actions are moving toward that end.
“Being unready and ill-equipped is what you have to expect in life. It is the universal predicament. It is your lot as a human being to lack what it takes. Circumstances are seldom right. You never have the capacities, the strength, the wisdom, the virtue, you ought to have to handle the task. You must always do with less than you need in a situation vastly different from what you would have chosen.” – Charlton Ogburn Jr.
“It is not the bricks and mortar that make an organization great. It is the people. Good people who care, who have compassion, who have commitment. And always remember-good people beget good people.” –Dr. Thomas Frist
“A Chief is a man who assumes responsibility. He does not say “my men were beaten” he says “I was beaten.” – Antoine De Sainte Exupery
“The fault dear Brutus is not in the stars but in ourselves.” – William Shakespeare
When things don’t go as planned, when we fall short, make sure you don’t fall into the trap of blaming outside circumstance. Analyze the situation and learn from it, look at what you could have done differently to affect the outcome so that you will be ready next time.
“When you make a mistake, don’t look back at it long. Take the reason of the thing into your mind, and then move forward. Mistakes are lessons of wisdom. The past cannot be changed. The future is yet in your power.” – Hugh White
“How can you have charisma? Be more concerned about making others feel good about themselves than you are about making them feel good about you.” – Dan Neiland
People want to know you care, they have a story to tell; be sincere and more concerned about getting to know them and hearing their story and they will be more apt listen to you later. Steven Covey put it a different way; he said “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”
“I have yet to find the man, however exalted his stature, who did not put forth greater effort and do better work under a spirit of approval than under a spirit of Criticism.” – Charles Schwab