Scenario 1: I worked with a client who was a three-time CEO. He was clearly capable, experienced, and successful. However, he kept getting fired when we worked for other people. He was so focused on the goal that he didn’t let anything stand in his way. His communication and management style came across as arrogant, though he was qualified for these positions.
Scenario 2: I had a dear friend who worked for a terrible boss. Everyday I heard a new story that was so horrific it sounded fabricated. She couldn’t figure out what she actually wanted to do with her life, so she asked others to help her figure it out. Her coach told her one thing, and her parents another. She kept receiving advice from everyone on recommendations for career paths and became paralyzed by indecision and choice. She stayed in this role for another dreadful six months (until her boss picked her up over his shoulders, carried her around the office, and then got fired after HR reviewed the video footage.)
I use the terms “Flow/Go” in my training to help us become more mindful of the different levers we have to focusing on our goals versus the process.
“Go” is about achieving a goal. It has a plan and follows one leader. It requires us to stick to the goal at all costs with very few tweaks. It even helps us to avoid being distracted by “collateral issues” to get the project done. So, “Go” is focused on the end result and plan, and it may overlook critical information or issues. It may also pursue the leader’s idea when another might be better.
“Flow” is about process. It likes to gather multiple ideas and input that involves people and consensus while looking at the larger picture. However, they could find themselves paralyzed by the process of building consensus and buy-in. This group is so focused on the way to accomplish the task that it takes much longer to reach the goal.
Similar to the examples above, it sounds disastrous to focus on solely on “Go” or “Flow.”
But a healthy balance of “Flow”(process) and “Go” (goals) renders employees who can work towards a goal while also acknowledging issues and perspectives that will create an outcome that is better and more sustainable.
In client facing roles, this is a skill that needs to be practiced. I see so many people driving towards "their goal" from self created and managerial pressure that they end up losing the deal because the client doesn't feel like you have their best interests in mind.
In my on-demand programs we learn more techniques to help you be a more self-aware leader and avoid wasting time in roles that do not serve you.
A very simple tip: practice empathy. One best things you can do is put yourself in the shoes of your client/coworker/boss before a meeting. When we stop to pause, we can see things from another perspective and this shift in our intention will lead to more collaborative, long-term and successful outcomes.
Try it before your next meeting or join my program and go to session #3 to learn more.