Taking the Initiative

Do you ever wonder what makes certain teams gain momentum while others seem to be at a standstill? I’ve written about floating leaders in the past. They seem to drift without purpose, and when that’s the case, the team rarely has any chance of being any different. Leadership has a lot of parts to it, but one of the most important is creating forward motion, and that does not come about without making timely decisions.

By making decisions that are rightly within your purview, you allow the rest of the organization to move forward. Whenever you waffle and delay, you cause a cascading effect. Many decisions at the executive level should have a strategic impact; you should not drown yourself in daily minutiae. These decisions either compose your strategy or execute on it.

I’ve written before about handling decision waffling. I’d like to use this article to go over a couple of decisions you probably have been putting off recently (or weren’t even aware of).

Remote Work

You’ve read way too much about remote work in the past year, I’m sure. I will not go into which is better. Nevertheless, I do want to make sure that you realize that the time to decide on your future framework of work is now, or even due a few months ago.

Like it or not, your team and the entire industry has gone through a significant change, and many are now considering their workplaces based on the kind of office-presence they will require post-pandemic. Whether you choose office-first, remote-only, remote-first, or something in between (e.g., 2-3 days a week from home), you should make a decision. Otherwise, you’ll start losing talent—existing or future—that will go to places that have made up their mind by now. One would think that months and months of experience would be enough to understand what’s working out for the team and what would be best.

Some companies are moving to new, bigger offices because they were already planning to—without having contracts already signed—merely going with momentum. Won’t that be a colossal waste of time, money, and efforts if you realize in two months that you’re not going ever to fill up the new office?

Strategy and Objectives

As Alan Weiss has been saying since the first week of the pandemic, no strategy you had before this is still relevant intact. And yet, the preponderance of the companies I talk to have not sat down to revisit and revise their prior strategy seriously. I might be biased as someone that runs strategy workshops, but I believe many executives are doing their companies are great disservice by treating this so lackadaisically.

Similarly, many are still considering their 2021 objectives or even just Q1 objectives. We’re three weeks into this year; that’s 25% of Q1. By the decisions will be made and communicated, a lot of precious time would be lost.

New Hiring Opportunities

Some companies have already made up their minds regarding the previous matter, remote work, and decided to allow considerable remote work, with some employees being entirely remote. You might be one of them—good for you. However, I see clients still twiddling their thumbs about making the most out of the opportunities this new work model allows. Why are your hiring efforts still concentrated around a 20-mile radius from your headquarters?

Decisions about the areas of hiring (nationa wide, cross-continent/time-zone/globally), revising budgets, and updating administrative plans accordingly should be made now to maximize your gains from entering this new world.

I know a CEO that used to push off hiring decisions before the holidays so as not to “pay people just for starting and immediately going off on vacation” (here in Israel, we have two weeks of national holidays around September). That’s one way to look at it. The other way is that by making a decision now, you get the ability to better plan your next couple of months for the price of two weeks of pay for a few new hires, along with less good people deciding to go someplace else in the meantime. Equivocation is not an executive’s vocation.