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Overcoming Action Blocks & Stalls



We’ve been in the process of redefining and rebranding thrive! for the last six months. Within a month or so, we’ll be launching our new website. Really. We’ll let you know when it goes live. Now, you may be thinking, “Geesh, after six months that website should be perfect!” Well, no. This website will be an organic platform for our business, and we aren’t thinking that it will ever be perfect or finished (much to CrisMarie’s disappointment).

The process of the last six months has really helped us appreciate many of the things we focus on with leadership teams, especially the tips regarding clarity versus certainty. We often share with teams the advice of Colin Powell:

Once the information is in the 40% to 70% range, go with your gut. This is about balancing data and information gathering with your instincts. Learn to trust your gut (which is about trusting your experience). Sure you’ll make mistakes, but you’ll also learn.

Powell goes on to share that acting below having gathered 40% of the information is acting like a cowboy; and waiting until you have above 70% moves you into “analysis paralysis.”

Regarding our website. We have definitely had moments of wanting more than 70% of solid, edited, well-proofed and guaranteed-to-be-right information. I have noticed that the desire for the perfect content has come up especially when we are talking about a new service or something that we may not have complete agreement around.

We are learning that when we are stalling, spinning our wheels and demanding certainty, the best bet is to step back and ask ourselves:

Are We Aligned?

This could be an area where we have not yet flushed out our differences.

One of us may be moving ahead in a direction the other doesn’t fully buy into. Rather than slowing down to have the frank conversation, the eager one is charging ahead, knowing they don’t have complete buy-in. (That would be me. Check out the EI Tip!)

The other may be avoiding the topic, or nitpicking the progress rather than being candid about their disagreement. (CrisMarie muses, “Hmm, could that be me?”)

Are We Doing Too Much?

This may be a case where rather than moving forward with enough there is a desire to get everything complete.

When new products, websites, or projects come up there is an assumption that along with completing the new endeavor, our regular work is going to also stay at the same pace, adding more and more to an already full plate. This may signal a lack of clear priorities. Trying to do everything often results in nothing getting done. The key is to look at what can be let go of in order to move forward.

We learned this lesson the hard way when we scheduled a series of client engagements (the bread and butter of our business) while simultaneously attempting to get all of the new website content our developer. This resulted in delays for our developer and a tough conversation for all of us before getting back on track.

Now we are much more honest in creating a schedule and sticking to it even if we have to turn down a client event.

Are We Afraid of Failure?

Often teams, and yes, even our team, become gun shy of moving forward because they are simply afraid that it’s not going to go well.

Maybe our new services, such as virtual offerings, are not going to be successful. We are likely to have some technical difficulties as we move towards a new way of doing business. That fear of failure can result in us spinning our wheels by redefining our offerings or changing or delaying our launch until we have the technical issues down tight. Of course, this delays everything else. The truth is, we have the information and the skill set, we are simply afraid of doing something new!

For us it helped to run through some worst-case scenarios and determine our ability to self-correct. This is also a tool we suggest for clients when they seem to be afraid to pull the trigger.

In Summary

These are often the same types of questions and issues we see coming up whenever leadership teams are launching into new territory. Too often teams get stuck in the details of content and analysis – The Smart Side; without realizing that the real issues might be unresolved conflict around clarity, a lack of priorities or a fear of failing – in other words The Healthy Side.

Be it a new website, a product launch or a reorganization, it is critical to play smart and healthy. Be sure you have competent people doing the ‘right’ work, and when you find yourself somewhere beyond starting and not yet to the finish line, be sure you are taking extra care of the healthy side.

Uncertainty is a natural part of launching into a new space, don’t fight for a perfect or certain outcome – stay clear and realign as you go. In other words, follow your gut! Only then will you arrive somewhere new!

Susan Clarke and CrisMarie Campbell are Coaches, Consultants, and Speakers at thrive! inc. (www.thriveinc.com) They help business leaders and their teams use the energy of conflict, rather than – avoid or defuse it – to get to creative, innovative, profitable business results. You can see their TEDx Talk: Conflict – Use It, Don’t Defuse It! On YouTube. They would be happy to coach you, consult with your team, or to speak at your next event. Contact them at thrive@thriveinc.com


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