Almost: The Fine Art of Just Settling for Something

How many of you have a litany of stories about how you almost won something, were elected to something, or just missed winning something? After more than six decades of trying and succeeding (and trying and failing) I am here to tell you that for far...


By focus I mean paying attention to details. This is extremely important. Try not to focus on the insignificant stuff. You can easily lose focus if you worry too much about the things you cannot control. Also you should not fall into the trap of micromanaging your people. Nobody likes working for a boss who is always looking over your shoulder and breathing into your ear. To this end let me suggest that you set your goals, train your troops, point them in the right direction, turn them loose, and let them work.

Further, you must be consistent. No one likes working for a boss who continually shifts the focus of his actions much like a flag flying in a brisk, but shifting wind. No one likes a leader who blows hot and cold according to their mood on a given day. People must be able to count on you to be the same person, day in and day out.

My friends, it is very easy for me to suggest that you need to use common sense in your day-to-day operations. However, as we all have heard time and again, there is nothing common in our world when it comes to common sense. I have been accused of having common sense when it comes to operating in an organizational environment. I am not sure whether I do or not.

However, my wife loves to hear people say that I have common sense. First she rolls her eyes a bit. Then she laughs a little, and then makes that funny little face that all wives seem to use when they have heard something about their husband which seems to fly in the face of their actual life experience with the husband in question.

It is my guess people think that I have common sense because I have developed the habit of asking a lot of questions. Perhaps there are not enough among us who take the time to ask the necessary array of who, what, when, where, how, and why questions which are so necessary in solving life's problems and challenges. This is how I do business. When I need to make decisions, I need information. I guess that is what people see and then consider common sense to be.

Lastly, I want to urge you to make the simplest plans possible. History suggests that Civil War general (and later President) Ulysses S. Grant created some of the simplest plans in the history of warfare. Have you ever heard the expression, "…the devil is in the details?" This is one of life's truest little statements. I was taught a long time ago to use the KISS method of planning and leadership. It has been my experience that there greatest successes come from actually 'keeping it simple stupid'.

My friends, in order to become the most effective leader possible, I would suggest that you work to eliminate the word "almost" from your personal vocabulary. Stay positive and work to bring your people together with a vision involving teamwork as the basis for success. Learn as much as you can about the skills and abilities of all of the players and then create a simple, focused plan to bring success to you all.

"Almost" just won't get the job done. After all, I was almost elected the Captain of my track team in high school. But mistakes on my part ruled out that possibility. My life was diminished by the poor judgment on my part in that instance. Let my hard-earned lessons guide you toward future success in your career. Take care and stay safe.