One lesson I’ve tried to pass along to others was one that I had to learn myself, and sometimes the hard way – the 24 Hour Rule.
Throughout my leadership journey, I realized I was a bit reactionary. If I was a poker player, people could easily read my cards with just my body language. I had to learn how to not be so reactionary and allow myself time to reflect and then make decisions. That’s why I instituted a “24 Hour Rule.” With this rule, if there is a client or a boss that is upset, I would ask for 24 hours to look objectively at the situation and get back to them with an appropriate answer. The key is to avoid escalating the situation.
The “24 Hour Rule” is sort of a “time out” whether in a business setting – or a personal one. This rule has saved me so many times from over-reacting to something that really wasn’t as critical as I might have thought. It has changed me to a more active leader rather than a reactive leader and provided me with the tools to be a calm and collected leader that can solve problems effectively. I have taught this methodology to others, and it often comes back to me in stories of how it helped someone else!
So to my younger self, I wish I had this pearl of wisdom at my disposal as I do now. Perhaps I wouldn’t have been so quick to respond to many small situations that seem major at the time. My advice is to find a way to process information and really allow yourself time to make decisions. As someone, like many professionals, who can think quickly on my feet and make good, sound decisions – I sure would have benefited from the ability to sit back and look at things from a bird’s eye view.
Perspective is everything. Problems that seem earth-shattering from the ground are often minuscule from above.