- On February 4, 2015
“Results-Driven” is usually a highly prized characteristic in a business leader. We want people who are going to get us results.
Yet “results-driven” also has a cautionary dark side.
In work places where the push for results is strong, it is easy to lose our fragile synchronization with the whole environment in the race for achievement.
We put our shoulder into the task of getting it done and don’t make the time to view the eco-system so we can see how it all fits together.
We latch onto the first and obvious answer to the problem and drive it at all costs so we can show that we are committed to getting results…even as those results become more elusive.
How you get to the “result” end point is just as important as actually getting there.
- Can you pull up to view the systems implications of the results you are driving for?
- Are you able to adapt methods to achieve results in the most effective and inclusive way possible?
The harder we try to drive to result, the more difficult it becomes to have the courage to step back and view the situation in the context of the total environment and open ourselves up to other solutions to achieve the desired result.
Consider this parable about the village of Lu Chow, recounted in Michael Carroll’s book, The Mindful Leader.
The story goes that Lu Chow was a thriving small village on a river, making its livelihood from the ferry that crossed back and forth, bringing trade, equipment, workers, and visitors. One day the ferry capsizes and the people aboard are tossed in to the churning river. The alarm goes off and all the townspeople run to the ferry landing.
Except for the blacksmith who runs in the other direction.
“Coward” “Unreliable” said the townsfolk who rushed en masse towards the levee to try to save the drowning passengers where the boat had gone over.
What wasn’t obvious was the blacksmith had run downstream from the village to a bend in the river. Here he wedged a long branch out into the rough current so the struggling passengers could grasp onto it and pull themselves to shore as they floated by.
By contemplating the entire eco-system of the situation–the village location, the current, the geography of the river–the blacksmith achieved the intended result of saving many lives that day. By having courage to go a different way, he came up with a whole new–and more effective–solution to the problem.