The Power of Prep

In the ever-intensifying pace of modern business, the action-heroes are those managers who can  move with speed from one meeting to the next, dazzling colleagues with their wit and wisdom,  adding instant insight and value before zipping to their next high-impact mission.

21st century science shows that this is a myth. 

Think of your own critical decision-making moments in the past. Have there been times when  you: …rushed to a premature conclusion? …didn’t uncover facts that would have been critical to  the decision? …struggled with getting others to contribute ideas and information? …pushed your  solution too soon without building consensus with key stakeholders? If yes, you will appreciate  Lincoln’s words: “Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will use the first four to sharpen  the axe.” Recent findings in neuroscience, behavioral economics and psychology show that the  emotions and thoughts managers experience, and the mindsets they operate with, affect what  facts they observe and how collaborative and open they are. There is power to preparation. 

Some of this prep is internal…

How are you feeling? What are you thinking? What mindset are you bringing to the meeting?  It is critical to put yourself into a curious, centered, collaborative, non-attached, integrative, and  empowered mindset in order to maximize your ability to look at the big picture and every  relevant detail in it. To make the best decision, you need to bring your best self to that pivotal moment. And so before key meetings, I find it really helpful to take a few deep breaths,  create a positive intention for the meeting, identify and shed off any premature biases or  attachments I may be harboring, open myself up to new learnings, and then walk in, focused and  centered. 

And some of this preparation is external…

Who else will be involved? What might they be feeling or thinking? How can you make them  all comfortable in sharing relevant facts and perspectives, and shedding their own biases, during  the decision-making process? Is there a critical moment you should plan to create in the meeting  where you will pause everyone to make sure all key perspectives are on the table? Making the best decisions requires that you bring out the best in others, too.

I wish you a rewarding journey toward becoming a prep-hero – and only then, an action-hero!