One of the major keys to success is behavioural flexibility.  Your ability to move from big ideas, sort through options all the way down to nitty gritty implementation details.

Most of us are good at either the big picture or small detail.  Usually not both.

See which side you tend towards and the ramifications of each.

Options oriented:

People with “options” preferences search for opportunities and possibilities.

Faced with a decision you’ll keep “considering” all the possibilities, even research them heavily, but not actually make a decision and implement it.  Or you’ll start but keep wondering if you’ve made the right choice.  Maybe even flip between choices – so never really bed anything down.

Shows up all sorts of ways many entrepreneurs.

You can’t decide on the look and feel of your new website.  So many choices.  You keep changing your mind, driving your web designer mad.

Or you love to wing it with delivery tasks.  Who needs set procedures that are codified?  There’s always another shortcut.

As a result things don’t move forward at anywhere near the speed and efficiency they could.

If this is you, you need to balance this tendency with “procedural” people.

Procedural People:

You crave structure.  Plan everything.  Make lists and follow them.  You want to finish what you start, preferably in a step by step way.  If you have a recipe, you’ll follow it to a tee, be it cooking or a business process.

At the extreme, spontaneity upsets you.

Why you need balance.

Imagine if everyone was an options person.  Bright ideas would abound.  Big picture strategy.  People haring around.  Lots of projects would start, most would be abandoned as people chased greener pastures.

Conversely, a room full of procedural types would get stuck in meetings about how to structure meetings.  Minutia would rule.  Once again, nothing of significance would get done.

So you need a mix.  Preferably a few options but more procedural types to actually execute ideas.

I should note that many of us fall somewhere on a continuum.  Part options, part procedural.  It’s context dependent.  But recognising your preferences in business is important, especially as a leader.  You’ll want to surround yourself with people who exhibit the opposite preference to ensure you both have big ideas as well as the wherewithal to execute them.

And a final note of caution, especially if you’re an options oriented solo consultant.

Do less!  Decide on a small handful of strategic ideas and then force yourself to create detailed plans, with timings and resources, and finish them.  Better yet, do what you’re good at and outsource the rest!  Yes, it’ll cost money, but as a mentor of ours is fond of saying, “Get expertise.  Pay once and cry once.  Just get it done.”

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