The best executives make quick decisions. They know what they want and more
importantly they know what they don’t want. They’re not wafflers and don’t believe in wasting a second. Their minds are not cluttered
with indecision. They’re clear
thinkers. They have a vision.
There was an excellent New Yorker profile a couple of weeks ago on Clint Eastwood that
compared the man who famously played Dirty Harry (talk about a final decision
maker) to director/producer Warren Beatty. Beatty is famous, the article said, for projects that never
get off the ground, dragging those involved through months and sometimes years
of meetings and talk. In contrast, Eastwood
moves quickly. If he likes a
script he buys it on the spot and puts together the team he’s been working with
for years. He’s not a fan of
auditions or rehearsals.
In his later years, the prolific Eastwood has hit another creative gear.
Beatty has not. Can you
name the last Warren Beatty project?
Do kids today even know who Warren Beatty is?
There are a lot of us who are more like Beatty than
Eastwood. We’re indecisive because
we don’t want to be wrong, we don’t want to look foolish. The current economy—with jobs on the
line—certainly doesn’t help a cluttering mind.
We don’t want to be wrong because we don’t want to find ourselves in the
Of course, that kind of thinking is taking it too
far. There are certainly ways of
improving our decision making process, and producing positive results, without
jeopardizing our jobs.
Get organized. What exactly
do you want to achieve during the day?
What’s the most important agenda?
What’s the goal? These
appear to be pretty simple, straightforward (duh!) questions, but there are a
lot of people out there who are on automatic pilot. They’re more focused on personal issues and going through
their day thinking of only themselves and how policies and procedures affect
them. They do not think of their
team, their employer.
Their mindset is: I go to work because I need to make money.
The thinking should be: How can I generate the most revenue for
my company today? How can I best
shine so the company best shines?
If you think of your company first (believe in its
vision) the rest takes care of itself.
You’ll make money and you’ll rise within the company.
Don’t get bogged down with details, think of the big
picture and how you’re going to get there. Too many of us hem and haw over business matters that are
insignificant and petty. For example,
a salesperson might spend too much time in search of the perfect prospect. The perfect prospect doesn’t
exist. Go after your competition’s
prospects; go after the big companies, the companies that are an excellent
match for what your product does.
In the end, it’s all about vision. Clint Eastwood has a vision each time
he sets out to make a film. He
doesn’t get bogged down with deciding on actors to use or script rewrites. He gets it done because he makes sure
that the people who work for him understand and carry out his vision.
That’s vision and leadership. Now it’s time to clear that cluttered mind
and start directing your own film.