Once we have used the ten types of opportunity 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.
He was an author and consultant whose thinking shaped the modern corporation and 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 towards the wrong results — better to move slowly in the right direction than move quickly in the wrong one, better to do the right things imperfectly than the wrong things well.
Reading this now it might seem obvious. But how many times have you gone along with what was easy rather than standing up for what was important? How many times have you allowed a situation to slide only to find it getting worse?
Sailing brings us a useful metaphor.
If the winds are blowing in the direction you want to travel then your decision is easy: you sail downwind. But when the wind is blowing against you, you don’t just give up and go to the port that the wind is now blowing towards. Instead, you tack and jibe across the wind to get to where you want to go. And even though you seem to be pointing in the wrong direction, you are actually still moving toward your chosen destination.
Choosing the best way forward is not just about finding more opportunities — it’s about choosing the way forward that is best for you, even if that seems to be different from where you ultimately want to get to. Because it is better to move slowly in the right direction than quickly in the wrong one.
In your work, and in your life, are you going wherever 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.)