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 Dragon Reborn - Chapter 6 [#100Days, Day 78]

Action Beats Inaction

    Capitalizing on the aftermath of the attack, Rand sets off on his own.  His absence remains unnoticed until well into the morning.  It's an excellent example of how action can cause chaos.  Rand didn't do anything complex, he just left, with a note describing his vague goal; but it throws the rest of the band into utter disarray.  Moiraine's normal unflappable calm is punctured, her frustration visible as she tries to figure out Rand's next moves.  Perrin, normally quiet and reserved, goes toe-to-toe with Moiraine over Rand's disappearance. 

    Rand's action, however unclear even to himself, drives one thing: predictability for Moiraine and the rest.  Rand may not know where he is going, but he can be sure that Moiraine will follow him.  By (literally) deciding on a direction and moving out, Rand forces everyone else to react.  He controls his own unpredictability, leaving everyone else to guess and follow.  He's now operating inside everyone else's OODA Loop, forcing them down decisions they likely wouldn't have made otherwise.  Taking a static situation and making it dynamic drives change.  It's easy to fall into the quagmire of wanting more information prior to deciding, like Moiraine with her informants.  Sometimes, you just have to roll the dice and make the best decision with the information at hand. 

    The key is not to stop making decisions as information becomes available; locking into a course of action reverts back to the static and predictable state.  Sticking to the "plan", even when it no longer serves a purpose or could be replaced by a more effective one, limits the innovation of an organization just as much as failing to develop a plan in the first place.  This is plaguing my organization at the moment: people are operating on policies from years ago that were intended to be temporary.  Blindly following a directive that, at the time, was critical to the success of the organization, means the organization has remained stuck in that period from years ago, instead of adapting to meet today's challenges.  It's a mountain of inertia to break free, but it's absolutely critical to moving forward.  The first step: find all the long-buried, somewhat written down directives that are still guiding our actions today.


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