This morning over a cup of joe, I reminded a young leader in the making that he is thinking like a moron. The classic definition of a moron, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is someone with a mental age of between eight and twelve. The word comes from the Greek word, moros – foolish. My client is super smart, hard working, and a positional leader with all kinds of power, prestige, and prominence. He’s known as “the man,” in most circles. This morning, however, I got his attention by being a bit childish myself – I called him a name I knew he wouldn’t like.
You see, my client was frozen in place and didn’t know it. He had written a beautiful plan for putting his opus in play. We reviewed it this early morning and it was well thought out. My client prepares well. Therein lies the reason for my childish behavior. He had done everything well but execute the plan. My client had put all the work into preparing but instead of jumping in and telling his King the plan and arguing with conviction, he had a failure of nerve. He waited. He wasted his time, his Kings, and mine. Today, we should have been rinsing his learning from his conflict with the King. Instead, we were left talking about more preparation for his eventual “D-Day.”
D-Day, remember, was an imperfect plan. It aligned with the Allies overall plan to win WWII, but it was incomplete and far from foolproof when the decision was made to execute. The Allies executed the plan beginning on June 6, 1944. They knew why and enough of the how. So, instead of being foolish and waiting until everything was perfect, the stars aligned, and all intelligence amassed, they executed the plan and figured it out along the way. As Robert Quinn wrote in his book Deep Change, “They built the bridge as they walked on it.”
Don’t be a moron, friend. Act. You are waiting too long and don’t know it. You, most likely, don’t have a truth teller sitting with you every week to make you do what you can. You think you’re being smart with your newfound focus on data and analytics. You may be. Or, you might be foolishly giving the enemy more time to dig in. Today, a young leader walked out of a coffee shop with clarity. He understands why he’s been waiting and he’s changed his mind. All I did was wake him up. The fact that I had to resort to name calling is politically incorrect – agreed.
It is, however, far from foolish. Good…