I believe our reality is full of uncertainty and ambiguity. Crunch times quite often are characterised by their uncertain or ambiguous nature. What will the result be? Will we get the answer we want? What happens if the results are poor? What will they think of me? What will that mean for my job or my bonus?
Dealing with uncertainty is a leadership imperative. Providing certainty is equally so.
Imagine the following scenario happening in your favourite sports team:
Daniel has been approached by his coach, to perform the role of captain. The existing captain, Ed, is away injured during this time, and is not part of this conversation.
The role of captain involves leading the entire team.
The coach sends an email to rival teams, and governing sports associations letting them know that Daniel will be co-captain from now on and all captain related correspondence should go to him. No other information about this change is communicated by the coach.
Team dysfunction is not OK. Yet I have many conversations with senior leaders who observe that teams around them are ‘a little bit dysfunctional’. Consider the following impacts of dysfunction in teams:
the additional meetings held because decisions/agreements can’t be made
the confusion created for staff
the extra work created to get to agreement and decision, and to undo confusion
How much time is wasted in that process? What is the cost of that time? There is no room for dysfunction during crunch times. You need everyone on board, focused on delivering accurate results FAST. What to do? Dysfunction is caused by a number of things, but when it gets in the way of delivery, a powerful way to overcome is to call it out. Then rename it. The root cause of dysfunction is a difference of opinion. You know what this is also called? Diversity of thinking. Diversity of thought is a powerful characteristic of high performing teams. Teams that have diverse thinking...
Making judgments under pressure is hard. Without the right resources, it can feel isolating and overwhelming.
It’s all about the people
Remembering this one mantra during crunch times will serve you: ‘I'm not alone'
It can feel that way, and if you are at the pointy end of the hierarchy, you have every reason to think you are alone. After all, we are familiar with the saying ‘it’s lonely at the top’. But is it really? If every single person were to look up or sideways, would there really be no one surrounding you? There is always someone.
So when it comes to making judgments under pressure, say ‘I’m not alone'. And follow it with ‘who do I need to help me with this judgment?’. Then instead of a race against the clock to judgment day, the race is to the phone to get access to the person/the people that will help inform your decision.
It’s all about the process
When it comes to...
We have all felt it. The walls feel like they're caving in (ironic, because you haven't left the building for 14 hours) and you're starting to feel hot. It's crunch time.
People are generally regarded in one of the following ways when under pressure:
1. Those who make effective decisions and judgments
2. Those who take irresponsible shortcuts
3. Those who make intentionally incorrect decisions
4. Those who stick their head in the sand
When under pressure, your brain is trying to make sense of things and it's trying to do this under difficult conditions - i.e. when tired, stressed or overwhelmed. Executive thinking (the thinking required to make good decisions and judgments) occurs when your brain can interpret information in a logical manner in order to make correct decisions. When stressed, it is harder for your brain to put the pieces of information together in a way that serves you.
It's like the time I sprinkled paprika on my bircher muesli instead of...