There are no rules, only consequences.
5 January 2022
Someone sent me a photo yesterday of a white board, on which was written “There are no rules, only consequences.”
I think the white board was in a gym, although it doesn’t matter, because the quote applies to everything in life. It made me think of two things: one is that this idea was behind many conversations with my kids as they tried to figure life out, and the other is that this idea is really important to a business that is in the beginning stages.
Often, we try to figure life out with shortcuts. Shortcuts in understanding are necessary and natural – it’s logical and saves a lot of time to assume and behave based on that assumption that a car you see driving down the street works in somewhat the same way that yours do. Brakes, a heater, seats to sit in, etc.
But sometimes the desire to take a shortcut and find out what the rule is to be able to understand something gets in the way of being able to make a decision. I’m frequently asked questions that are attempts to find out a rule so that someone can make a decision.
For example, “What’s better, Adwords or Facebook promotions?” Or, “How much is the standard ________?” (This could be compensation, a step in a roadmap, vacation policy, anything really.)
So although it’s often helpful to know averages, other business’ experiences, and previous history when making a decision, those things don’t determine whether or not spending money on one platform is always better than another.
It depends. It depends on the consequence of the decision in your specific case,
When we are under the gun in business, especially with a young business that is growing rapidly, it’s very tempting to try to learn a rule as a shortcut. However, shortcuts are more likely to give you inaccurate information in that young and new business because the ground is often changing, and if you’ve started something new and different, you are part of the change. So the old rules may not apply the same way to you as others, if at all.
Making decisions are the most significant part of a leader’s work, and as one of my mentors put it, “Making decisions is really all that we do.”
So as you are making decisions today, consider what you are using to decide – a rule, or you best estimation of the consequence of your decision.
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