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Leader's Digest - December 2022

Today's edition is all about context. Context is important because it removes indecisiveness. That's because context gives you a wider perspective. And a wider perspective helps you understand the impact of the decisions at hand. It helps you understand, that most decisions don't matter much in the bigger picture of your long-term plans. More specifically, that the vast majority of wrong decisions don't matter much, because they can be corrected later on. The ability to put context around isolated pieces of information makes taking seemingly big decisions simple. And it makes seemingly negative outcomes more bearable. Because context helps you understand, that what matters most is, that you take a decision and proceed swiftly.

1 - Why IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad sees simplicity as a foundational enabler for organizational performance. And planning as a potential cause of corporate death "There have to be rules to enable a lot of people to function together in a community or a company. But the more complicated the rules are, the harder they are to comply with. Complicated rules paralyse! Historical baggage, fear and unwillingness to take responsibility are the breeding ground for bureaucracy. Indecisiveness generates more statistics, more studies, more committees, more bureaucracy. Bureaucracy complicates and paralyses! Planning is often synonymous with bureaucracy. Planning is, of course, needed to lay out guidelines for your work and to enable a company to function in the long term. But do not forget that exaggerated planning is the most common cause of corporate death. Exaggerated planning constrains your freedom of action and leaves you less time to get things done. Complicated planning paralyses. So let simplicity and common sense guide your planning. Simplicity is a fine tradition among us. Simple routines mean greater impact. Simplicity in our behaviour gives us strength. Simplicity and humbleness characterise us in our relations with each other, with our suppliers and with our customers. It is not just to cut costs that we avoid luxury hotels. We do not need fancy cars, posh titles, tailor-made uniforms or other status symbols. We rely on our own strength and our own will!"" Excerpt from: The Testament of a Furniture Dealer

2 - How celebrating a 100th birthday puts business decisions into context

Just one week ago I attended the birthday celebration of my grandmother, who just turned 100. When you turn 100 years old and look back, the relevance of virtually everything you ever deemed important, fades. Whenever you struggle to take a decision, take a step back for a moment and consider, how your 100-year old self will look back at this moment in time. In the greater scheme of things, when you look back in 30, 50 or 70 years: How decisive was this moment for your life? Can you really go terribly wrong with your decision? If not, then just decide for one of the options you have, and get on with it. If you made a mistake, correct your course as you go. I'vre written a LinkedIn post about lessons learned from my grandmother. The post was well received and it may be worth having a look at: Read the full post here

3 - Why so many leaders struggle in the day-to-day business when it seems it doesn't contribute to their vision. And how to keep moving quickly

"Thinking and planning on a large scale are key to achieving large-scale results. But planning on a large scale often leads people to be impatient on that same large scale. And this subsequently leads to mistakes in micro-scale decisions that lead to macro-scale failure. Like, for example, avoiding a role that seems like a setback in the micro but is a great step in the macro. Like an investment in improving the organizational structure of a company. It seems like tedious work with little outcome in the micro but is an enabler to grow in the macro. The mental challenge with planning on the macro scale is, that your direct influence is typically limited to matters on the micro-scale. On the macro, you can only observe how the conglomerate of your micro-decisions play out over time while you and the organization are executing on those decisions." Excerpt from: "Why you need to think small to accomplish glorious plans a.k.a. The micro-macro mindset"


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