Yesterday I faced the responsibility of starting to look for a new administrative assistant for my department at work. The individual that I need to replace has a great opportunity to move on to another journey in her career and actually received a promotion in the process. I am very happy for her. I’m new in my role as the manager of this group, and I am working hard to redefine the group, its focus and its brand. The opportunity to bring a new member to the team is actually an opportunity to pursue my new vision. A fresh new team member brings new perspective and the opportunity to hire someone new affords the chance to recast the role that this person will play on the team.
Nevertheless, I’m busy, and I was very tempted to grab the previous person’s job description and post it as representative of what I am looking for in a new team member. Each time I considered the need to get a job description to the recruiter I felt pressure to take the easy way, but as is usually the case, the easy way is not the strategic way. So, I forced myself to pause and really think hard about what I needed in a new team member in order to achieve my goals and realize my vision. It took me longer and even forced me into a late night of work to catch up on the things I had to set aside for the exercise, but in the end, I feel that the new job description is a greater representation of my vision and will guide me more effectively to the right person to join us.
The real lesson at this point is that every day the tyranny of the urgent threatens to overshadow and kill the power of reflective thought and strategic planning. If we allow this tyrant to have his way we will never be strategic in the way we conduct our lives or our business. While we may keep the boxes checked and even realize some immediate gains, we will ultimately lose; we will stall out and fade away. Advances happen as a result of strategy not merely by chance. Now, I believe there is some serendipity or even providence at work in all of life, but the people who make the advances in life that they dream of do so because they stopped long enough to think and plan before they dove in and started checking meaningless boxes.
One of the strategic things that I am doing right now to become better at strategic thinking and action is learning and practicing. I’m reading a lot of books, listening to a lot of podcasts, hanging out with people who think and act the way I want to think and act, and taking risks to put the lessons into play. I’m making mistakes and missteps all the time, but I know that I am growing in my ability to think and growth is what it is all about. I want to always be getting better because I believe the cliche, if you aren’t growing, your dying. I want to live! I would love to have you join me in the journey, so connect with me on Twitter, or post a comment below to start a dialog.