“Make It So”: A Lesson From Picard

“Star Trek: The Next Generation” fans have already recognized the catch phrase above that was so aptly used by Captain Jean-Luc Picard.  Whenever Picard, as commanding officer, had made a decision he usually signaled that said decision had been made by speaking three simple words: “make it so.”

When deliberating over a proposal, leaders will often look to their “inner circles” for advice and input.  That’s smart business.  But after all of the input has been gathered, opinions have been expressed and alternatives have been weighed, true leaders understand that they have the ultimate responsibility to be the “deciders.”   They don’t shirk this responsibility nor do they constantly “punt.”  Leaders know that there will be risks associated with their most important decisions and that there will be pleasant surprises as well as unintended consequences associated with the choices they make.So why is it so hard for some leaders to get the ball rolling?  I am fully supportive of due diligence and a period of thoughtful deliberation for big decisions.  However, when projects remain on a “to do” list for seemingly eternal period of time with no decision being made, it can lead to less productivity and decreased motivation: two things that businesses cannot have.

Here are some of the most common excuses/stalling tactics that are used when delaying decisions on important matters:

It’s not the right time – guess what?  The time may never be just right.  In fact, the “right time” almost never comes because there are always forces beyond our control that come into play.  Things happen.  Don’t let anxiety about what might happen distract you from making a decision on something that should happen.

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