Jackie, a colleague for over 15 years, recently shared with me her mantra in times of confusion: "One step at a time". When things get overwhelming, Jackie tunes out the noise and just takes one step at a time.
Most of the time this works brilliantly for her. Few of my colleagues can execute like Jackie. She really can be a machine under pressure, and it's impressive to watch. When others get distracted by company drama or interpersonal gossip, Jackie is impervious. If you hit her with strategic questions in the middle of important tasks, she'll agree to schedule time with you, but she remains focused. Sometimes we "strategists" can have our heads in the clouds, and this kind of execution is essential and inspiring.
Jackie has helped me many times by reminding me of this concept, but recently shared with me that it has become a barrier. "One step at a time" doesn't help when she's facing a strategic moment. When she reaches certain forks in the road, she doesn't know how to just take it. Real decisions need to be made, and her strength becomes a weakness.
Execution is important, but can't be done without direction. One step at a time can fail you.
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