A Leader Reads

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Join me as I focus a leadership lens on fantasy books and series. Current Series: The Wheel of Time, by Robert Jordan (and Brandon Sanderson) Contact me: s10473@protonmail.com

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The Eye of the World - Chapters 11 & 12 [#100Days, Day 11]

Options Come Standard

    Racing through the night, in a unnatural fog, the band blazes through Watch Hill, gallopping onwards towards Taren Ferry.  Moiraine and Lan persuade the ferrymen to pull them across.  On the other side, they finally halt for a rest near a thick tangle of roots.

Thrusting a stub of a torch ahead of him, Lan crawled out from under the mound and straightened. "No unwelcome visitors," he told Moiraine.  "And the wood I left is still dry, so I started a small fire.  We will rest warm."
"You expected us to stop here?" Egwene said in surprise.
"It seemed a likely place," Lan replied.  "I like to be prepared, just in case."
The Eye of the World, p. 139

    Optionality.  It allows plans to be more inherently robust; enables agility when flowing between options as the situation demands.  Making decisions to provide the largest set of available options is powerful.  Setting up the hidden camp on the way into Emond's Field probably cost minimal effort and time for Moiraine and Lan.  The price of gathering a few sticks delivers a perfectly placed to rest horses after a long, hard ride; hidden from unfriendly eyes, sheltered from the weather. 

    For more business-oriented scenarios, optionality is setting up standard procedures and frameworks that allow teams to take immediate action when certain criteria are met.  This allows the leader to immediately begin assessing the results of the actions and provide more timely feedback and course corrections to the team.  They in turn operate inside the standard framework.  Their OODA Loop works faster, gaining the advantage.  The key is discipline and adherence to the framework.  And to adjust the framework as improvements are identified.  

    Somewhat counterintuitively, enabling the team to make decisions at their level in accordance with the standard procedures, makes them more receptive to adjustments and refinements to the procedures.  Empowerment builds trust; trust builds creativity and innovation; and innovation drives improvement.  A team member showing up saying,  "I think we can adjust the procedure to gain..." is powerful.  It immediately informs the leader the the procedures are being followed, and that people are interested in operating more effectively.  As a leader, it's imperative to nurture the innovation, whether it succeeds or fails. If it fails, there's already a proven process, so the risk is well worth the reward.  


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