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Lead with your gut May 30, 2010

Posted by vsap in Blogroll, Uncategorized.
Tags: , ,

In our weight-obsessed world, the title might have you believe this will be a treatise on a “heavy” issue. Not so much. It is about business.

We hear lots about planning, polling, measuring the pulse of internal “constituencies” as well as external ones. We have meetings where some people lead only with their heads (e.g., accountants and other naysayers) and others lead only with their hearts (i.e., emotional, inexplicably “all over” the topic, or too close to the action for valid assessment). There are really only two things to do when facing a business challenge or opportunity:

1) Lead with your gut.

2) Get started.

You know what you know. You add to it what you hear and what other trusted colleagues offer. Your gut tells you go or no go.  If go, you get started.

I can hear the groans now. They look something like this:

“The company I work for has a process and you have to work in the system. That’s that.”

Or, “I can’t do a balls-out thing on my job. That’s career suicide.”

Or, “Our company is small but only one or two guys make the decisions and the rest of us just try to execute on whatever they hand us.”

I still hold to my 2-step process. Whether you work for Coca-Cola or IBM or Mom & Pop’s Hand-Dipped Ice Cream Parlor in a town of 1,000 souls, the 2-step process works.


1) No one will be critical if you have an idea, informed by experience and expertise, that you believe the time has come to implement or at least consider implementing. Your biggest opponent in the workplace will give you credit for the idea (jealous they didn’t offer it first) even if it never gets implemented.¬† Lead with your gut WITHOUT worry about whether or not your idea will be accepted or rejected; WITHOUT concern that someone will piggy-back on it, improve it, and help it come to fruition (it will always be your idea regardless of the final form).

Even if this is your first time to step forward and offer ANYTHING that could propel the business forward in a certain area or improve a process, there is only one thing to do:

2) Get started. Nothing defeats action. Nothing is more impressive than initiative. Nothing is worse than simply going along with the status quo especially if that relegates you to a special¬† “victim” status (e.g., “You know old Vince, slow and steady, nothing spectacular but always there.”). A door stop is “always there”.

Working in sales offers some good analogies for those who don’t. And even some who do lose their edge from time to time and need to get back at creating excitement and delivering beyond expectations.

You’ve been at this company for 3 days or 30 years, you see how some things work well and others not so well. Your experience and expertise, for which you were hired (we hope), can and should be applied to challenges and opportunities you see around you. And when it’s not obvious, create it! Get started! Three weeks in (or whenever) you discuss it with your boss or colleagues. You float the trial balloon. YOU decide if it is a go or no go, refine it and launch the trial balloon again. Lead with your gut.

Use the simple 2-step method to make things happen:

1) Lead with your gut.

2) Get started.

If you do these things, no one will ever out-work you and you may become the “go to” person in your company because you demonstrate the courage to lead with your gut and get started.

Most marketing slogans are vague puffery but Nike’s is right: Just do it.



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