It’s a half-hour past when you wanted to leave the office and you’re almost out the door. Judy stops you with a question about a project. You know it would be best to explain to her the whole situation so that she’d know how to handle this in the future, but instead you tell her the minimum and get out of there. You want to give her a more detailed explanation, but you just don’t have the time.
Do you ever feel this tension between giving a quick-fix versus making an investment? We try to avoid the quick-fixes and seize opportunities to invest in employees and the business, but it can be difficult to choose the investment consistently.
Though each decision you make as a leader matters, it’s the pattern of your decisions that may be even more significant. If you pause to think about it, is the “quick-fix” becoming a pattern?
It makes sense that we would fall into a pattern of quick-fixes. They work, they get us through the moment and they take less effort and time than the issue really calls for. Yet, we know from experience that it’s often worth investing time and effort to set things straight. We take the time to fully train employees when we hire them. We try to pass on our knowledge and experience to others. We hope that they will absorb it, become even more productive in the business and grow into greater roles. We count the investment worth it.
But it’s not always convenient to make the investment. Like in the example above when you’re leaving the office, you would have had to sacrifice your time to stay longer to invest in Judy’s education. Or would you? The investment doesn’t always have to be in the moment. We can schedule investment instead. In fact, blocking off time to invest in your employees and your business is an excellent way to ensure it gets done. So next time, when Judy stops you on your way out, you can give the quick fix in the moment, but schedule time to explain more later.
We seem willing to assess our patterns and change for each new year. Why not today? I’m calling us to reassess our patterns. Are we investing in others and our businesses to improve them or have we simply fallen into a quick-fix pattern? The investment is worth it. Let’s block off time and do it.
Cover image info: Original, royalty-free image from Gratisography.