Monday, December 16, 2013

The Secret To Success

By David Allen
Let's get something real clear: success doesn't come from getting organized--it comes from following your heart. Or the seat of your pants. Or your gut. (Pick the words you like, that you're not allergic to.)
Getting organized (a la David Allen) won't in itself solve the bigger issues and creative challenges that we all face from time to time. What it will do is help clear the decks internally, and create a more open space within which to do the real knowledge work--making the decisions about allocation of resources to make things happen that won't happen by themselves. It also gives the skills and tools to ensure that things actually happen once we've decided to do them.
I was reminded of all this as I finished working with a client--a CEO with lots of responsibility to a company board, a deep desire to maintain high standards, and quite a moving target for a market and product line definition. His pain was his perception of "stuck-ness" in some of the bigger projects that he thought he should be clarifying and moving on. He was laboring under the self-judgment that he should be doing more than he was doing. In truth, he was doing exactly what he should be doing--rehearsing various scenarios and exploring all the ins and outs of each one, generating internal information and perspectives until critical mass is reached and the hunch factor will take over.
Many projects are waiting on more data to make the next level of decision, or waiting on others to deliver their delegated pieces. As long as the action steps about getting that data and the "waiting fors" are clarified, recorded, and tracked, the executive work is (and rightly so) the inner conversation.
Clearing up the static is an important and often necessary factor. But tuning the station and listening are the critical elements to success.
"...the salvation of this human world lies nowhere else than in the human heart, in the human power to reflect, in human meekness and in human responsibility. -- Vaclav Havel 

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