A friend of mine, a while ago, asked me: “how do you know what to do when shit hits the fan?” What he was really asking was: how do I develop a plan, a strategy, a mindset, and a control to do what I need to do and how do I ultimately know what is right in each situation?
As life happens, and decisions need to be made, and shit hits the fan every now and then, why am I able to step back, hide in my room for a few minutes, and figure out a way to solve or overcome a problem and make the decisions I make that ultimately result in crazy growth and improvement? I wish I had a simple answer for you. I wish I could tell you step by step, how I come to conclusions and am able to act, quickly, to move things along to a better place. But one thing I can say is this: it starts in a room like the one above, and when something happens and I stand alone, I literally see many windows, that are like drawers. And each window, each drawer, contains something inside it that I need to look at to move forward. But to see what’s in the drawer, I have to get a ladder… after all, the windows are located super high. And when I get a ladder and climb up, I have to be careful. I can only open one drawer at a time. I know that because I tried in the past to open more than one and when I did, I almost fell off my ladder (you realize this is a metaphor so stay with me).
So I climb up the ladder very carefully, and I open the drawer. It contains some information. Just a bit, but it helps me understand one aspect of the problem or challenge that is sitting in front of me. So I read through or look through what is contained in that window drawer and once I have it in me, and I retained it, I climb down. So now I know more than I did before. And it may be a simple little thing, but now I have clarity. And clarity is power after all. So using the clarity I have now, I am pulled into another direction, maybe to the left and second row up. Get a bigger ladder, that window looks really high. So I trek up to that window and open the second drawer, and it has a deep insight into how to deal with my particular problem. So now I calm down; or now I have more ammunition, depending on how you look at this. But bottom line, this process is freeing, at least for someone like me, who has ADHD, and I could never open all drawers at once; I could never get all the information to fix my problem at once because it would have been too overwhelming. And overwhelming amounts of information delivered to an ADHD adult simply means nothing gets done. We are a special breed of people. We can have one thing in front of us but for short periods of time. We get easily distracted. So the idea of drawers that contain small amounts of information, bite-sized, so I can learn about them then step away because I got distracted by the dog barking outside, or the noise coming from the sterilizer, or the person coughing in the hallway, which makes me unable to do anything else but look up why people cough on google, or the other endless interferences that are around me all day to take me away from what I am doing. So bite-sized is good for ADHD. And it’s also good for most of you because most of you can’t handle large changes to your business at once. So many of you who work with me really like my “drawer” process – picking one thing and working on that till it’s implemented, then moving to another drawer.
Ok, so anyone who knows what I am talking about, I am talking about bite sized pieces. I am talking about breaking things down into manageable steps. I am basically breaking down systems. So taking what you know from our Strategic Plan and breaking it down into actionable steps. And that’s truly what leadership is all about. It’s about looking at what’s going on, breaking it down, making decisions as to what to work on this year, this quarter, this month, this day, and then being able to motivate your people to help you move towards that and achieve it.