Are you a leader or a manager? This conversation with one of my clients will give you insights into that question.
“What’s the right thing to do,” I asked my client.
I was sitting across the lunch table from him and deep into a conversation about a business decision he needed to make. I am an Executive Coach/Strategic Planner and I work with CEOs and their teams to help them define their strategy and find the best route to achieve success. I’m not the “guru of business” yet I use my talents, expertise and training to ask questions to help my clients plot out their own path to victory. What I do for them is this:
I ask questions.
I don’t answer for them. I let the silence do the heavy lifting.
I wait for them to come to their own conclusions.
Once they do, I support their goals.
My client stared back at me as I let the silence do the heavy lifting. It’s an awkward moment in a conversation but it’s the most powerful moment because it allows the mind to listen to its soul (or gut for those of you more comfortable with that terminology).
Client: “If I do the right thing, it will cost the company big money. I feel I need to do things right to make sure we are in compliance.”
Me: “Who said these things were right?”
Again, silence became the lifter of the conversation.
Client: “Well, my manager thinks this is the way things should be done. I do have to lean on her since it is her area of expertise.”
Me: “Okay, then why is this so hard for you? Why are you struggling with this decision?”
Client: “Because it doesn’t feel right.”
Silence. A very long silence.
Client: “I guess I’m the risk taker and she’s not. She tends to worry too much about rules and regulations and I appreciate that. I also know that there are times when we have to ask for forgiveness instead of permission. That’s what got me to where I am today. I always thought outside the box. I didn’t like other people telling me “we can’t do it this way” and I was out to prove them wrong. That’s how I made it this far. Maybe I’m listening to too many voices and not going with my gut anymore. The business has grown and so many voices are now in my head. I have a hard time hearing me anymore. What do you think?”
Me: “It really doesn’t matter what I think. It’s what you think. It’s what you are hearing yourself say. It’s always good to have the best and brightest around you and at the end of the day – you are the leader. You have to make the final decision. That’s why you make the big bucks!”
Client: “Yeah right! Big payouts will come later, Billie. Right now I am staying up at night thinking about all the people who work for me and all the plans we have for our business. Strategy vs. tactics are a part of my dreams just about every night! Sleep and big payouts will come later. Right now I just need to figure out if I go with my gut or listen to my manager.”
Me: “Okay then. Let’s start with the question I asked earlier. ‘What’s the right thing to do?’”
Client: “The right thing to do is to do the right thing.”
Me: “Well there you have it. Do the right thing and guess what, the right thing will always be the right thing. You will win in the end.”
Client: “Well she’s not going to like it but I guess she’ll get over it. She tends to think small and I tend to think too big for her at times.”
Me: “Peter Drucker once said, ‘Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.’ You, my client, have taken the leadership position and you came to that decision on your own. You know why? Because you are a natural born leader and your gut has taken you this far. When your gut is screaming, listen to it. Yes, you must seek advice from others. And you must search out the truth for yourself. Yet at the end of the day – go with your gut! Your gut has done well so far and if it’s screaming at you – listen to it!”
My client did what he thought was right and in his mind, he did the right thing. He feels better and he’s moved on to other “right thing decisions.” When you are a leader, those decisions pop up daily.
My friends, this applies to all of us reading this blog. You don’t have to be the leader of a business. You are the leader of your life. No one can manage you – believe me on this one – but you can lead yourself to the right path by doing the right things. Did you know that we can actually live happier and more fulfilled lives by doing the right thing in all circumstances? You do not have to make life difficult on yourself and by living this one truth out – Do the right thing – you too will have abundance. Abundance doesn’t always equate to money but it does equate to abundance of peace in your life. By doing the right thing, peace is yours and peace is a precious gift!
And for my Christian friends reading this, James 4:17 tells us this, “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”
I do not plan to have a “yikes” week. I plan to get my week started off right and do the right things.
By doing the right things, all things will be right in my world.
I wish you the right things too, my friends. Keep it simple. Do the right thing.
Note: For those of you who do not know Peter Drucker, read this article in Forbes. I devoured most of his books and they are as true today as they were back then. Peter Drucker