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“Ask for 85% effort and encourage 85% right decisions”.

Early in my career I was what the psychologist Daniel Goleman called, ‘a pacesetter’; I worked hard as the leader in the hope that others would emulate me. Fortunately, I got rid of that habit before it led to my burnout and demise thanks to some good role models and timely feedback. (Big thanks Paolo Lanzarotti and David Shlager)

Recently someone shared this excellent article from Greg McKeown in the HBR with me that re-enforces what it took me a long time to learn. 85% today is better than 100% tomorrow. The effort required to get that final 15% distracts you from other tasks, and they include resting so that you can renew your energy for the next day.

Letting go of that desire for 100% is difficult to do. It runs counter to our competitive spirit. But it sets the right example for the people you want to lead. Today, burnout and the obsession that drives it is one of the main topics people want to talk about in Coaching sessions. There is no quick fix, just small steps, and experiments to bring about change. As well as some good feedback from mentors if you are lucky enough to have them.

If you are interested in improving your leadership skills drop me an email. I am always keen to hear how other people set pace and build self-awareness on this.


The views expressed in this article are the views of the author. This article provides general information, does not constitute advice and should not be relied upon as such. Professional advice should be sought prior to any action being taken in reliance on any of the information.