Recognising Your Choices…

Most of us have bosses.

As a result we experience ourselves reacting to both people and events that are outside of ourselves.  It feels to us like control lies elsewhere.

“Mike you don’t understand.  I can’t make any of this happen unless senior management buys in and supports the idea.  Once we get them on board we will have a chance.”

A reluctance to take full responsibility for our actions develops.  We learn to shift the blame elsewhere.  We lose sight of our responsibility for the type of organisation that we have helped to build.  We genuinely believe that the mediocrity that surrounds us has nothing to do with us. It is all the work of someone else, somewhere else.

Of course it is true that there is nearly always someone who has power over us.  But even in the face of this reality, we still have choices.  Choices that can lead us towards enterprise and progress – entrepreneurial choices; or choices that lead us towards safety and maintenance – bureaucratic choices.

We can choose to operate from an entrepreneurial mindset or a bureaucratic one.

We can choose between:

  • Maintenance and Greatness
  • Caution and Courage
  • Dependency and Autonomy

In my experience many managers do not recognise these choices.  They wrap themselves in the  cultural cloaks of the organisation – usually more bureaucratic then entrepreneurial – and lose sight of the fact that THEY can make a difference.

In the short term of course the bureaucratic choice has many advantages:

  • You blend in rather than stand out.
  • You risk little.
  • You minimise the chances of failure (and success).
  • You help to build a culture of shared contentment with mediocrity.

In the context of making the most of your life however the entrepreneurial mindset wins every time:

  • It allows you to find and develop your own unique contribution
  • You take more risks – and develop the relationships and experience that will help you to manage them effectively
  • You increase the chances of failure – but also give yourself a chance of great success.
  • You help to build a culture of enterprise and excellence

So just reflect as you go through your working day what do your actions say about the choices that you have made – entrepreneurial or bureaucratic?

The second half of a man’s life is made up of nothing but the habits he has acquired during the first half.

Fyodor Dostoevsky

The second half of a man’s life is made up of nothing but the habits he has acquired during the first half – unless he is bloody careful!

Mike Chitty