What is Needed Now?

Coaches and other development professionals often spend a lot of time and energy encouraging clients to remain in the question.  We are faced with a default culture that is biased toward action… now!  But like any other asset, the ability to slow down and be certain of our actions can, when overused, turn into an exercise in navel-gazing.

Sometimes, when a situation is very complicated, when we do not like the choices we are looking at or when a situation is critical, staying too long in the question can be paralyzing.  In those situations, only one question matters- “What is needed now?”

For all the idealized theory about planning, and allowing time to get very clear on the nature of the issues, there are times when getting off the dime is critical.  So, how does a leader know what is called for in any given situation?  The approach I trust most is simpler than you might think.

I simply ask “How much of my need to get in action is because I feel uncomfortable with the thinking and planning process?”  In other words, does the situation call for immediate action, or do I need to see it to feel that I am doing something?”  Leaders who can tell the difference have a distinct advantage in the use of resource and time to gain an effective outcome.