Once we have used the ten types of opportunities to find ourselves new options for moving forward, our next task is to choose between them.
Peter Drucker had very a clear view about the best way to do this.
Drucker was an author and consultant whose thinking was so influential that it shaped the modern corporation. He said:
“Doing the right things is more important than doing things right.”
In other words, it is better to choose a difficult path towards the outcomes you want than an easy path to the wrong results — better to move slowly in the right direction than quickly in the wrong one, better to do the right things imperfectly than the wrong things well.
Reading this now that might seem obvious. But how many times have you gone along with what seemed easy rather than doing the difficult work of standing up for what is important? How many times have you allowed a situation to slip and then found it getting worse and worse?
Sailing brings a useful metaphor.
If the winds around you are blowing in the direction you want to travel then your decision becomes easy: you sail downwind. But when the wind is against you, you don’t just give up and you don’t go to where the wind is blowing. Instead, you tack and jibe across the wind. And though you seem to be pointing in the wrong direction, in reality you are still moving towards your chosen destination.
Choosing the best way forward is not only about finding more opportunities — it’s also about having the clarity and the courage to choose the way forward that is best for you, even if that goes against the way the wind is blowing today. This is another step towards becoming antifragile.
In your work, and in your life, are you going to where the wind blows or are you deliberately moving towards a destination that matters to you?
Adapted from Inner Leadership: a framework and tools for building inspiration in times of change.
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(And remember: you don’t learn to swim by reading about swimming, you also have to practice.)