Many Paths to Your Destination

My way or the highway

I would love to say I am the smartest person in the room right now. However, it would be lies … all lies! I would also love to say that I come up with the best plans but that would be lies as well. It is a rare moment when you are the smartest person and there is only one way to achieve a goal. Don’t get trapped by the idea that you have to find the perfect path. There is no perfect path, only shades of gray.

Open your mind the possible solutions to a problem. Acknowledg your limitations, collaborate within a team, try different solutions, and shut down your judgmental inner voice.

Acknowledge your limitations

It is necessary to acknowledge your limitations in order to find the best solutions. Believing you are the smartest person in the room simply means your plan will be sub-optimal. Regardless of your awesome results, there was probably a better opportunity out there.

For example, you need some internal marketing materials.  You have a pretty good idea of what you want but you don’t have time to create marketing materials yourself. You delegate this task to a subordinate. When you get the rough draft, it doesn’t look like you had envisioned it. Instead of taking the project away from your subordinate, you should simply acknowledge that is not what you were looking for and then ask for a few changes. If they explain why your idea might not work, be open to their opinions and expertise. You may find out their ideas had a greater impact than yours.

Collaborate within a team

Collaborating within a team indicates each person is contributing to the data collection, analysis, and solution. If you are telling people what they should think or shutting innovation down, you are directing vice collaborating. Think of the concept of the Knights of the Round Table. All ideas are considered before the team begins culling the plans and creating the final solution.

In great teams, everyone contributes and speaks equally. No one takes over the meeting or spends most of the time doing the talking and directing the activities. Collaboration means that all parties are engaged.

Try different solutions

“You have to do cardio if you want to lose weight.” “You have to do weight training if you want to lose weight.” “You have to cut your calories if you want to lose weight.” “You have to eat the right foods to lose weight.” “Work out when you have enough time to do at least 60 minutes of uninterrupted time.” “Work out first thing in the morning.” Are you confused yet? Yep. Me too.

My solution is to find time to be active, eat healthier, and tailor your workout to fit your goals. The only problem with my solution is that it isn’t specific enough for people to implement. This is why personal trainers tailor specific tips like “do your cardio as soon as you wake up” to the person they are training. There are innumerable ways to get to your target. Try one plan. If it doesn’t work, try something different.

Shut down your judgmental inner voice

Shutting down your judgmental inner voice is not the same as suspending critical evaluation. Judging indicates bias. Critical evaluation focuses on evaluating a solution in an unbiased manner. It’s difficult to evaluate different options in an unbiased manner if your inner voice is judging your plans before they are fully developed.

How do you get the most from your team?

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