I have been in the leadership business for over 40-years and worked with thousands of leaders, and I have found people consistently struggle with the same three things:
Making Decisions; and,
Well, Ladies in gentlemen -Drum roll- here for your leadership pleasure is the 75% solution:
A great friend of mine, Hugh Culver, used to speak a lot about time management. The first time I met Hugh, he gave me productivity advice that I started using from the moment following the workshop and still use to this day.
Hugh made the point that as a leader we should not be scheduled more than 75% of the available time in our calendars.
If you jam your calendar full of back-to-back appointments you will never have time to deal with all of the things that you need to do. Everything from the inevitable emergency to walking around talking and checking in with team members to going to the bathroom.
One of my all-time favourite leaders is General Norman Schwarzkopf. He is best known as the Commander of all the Coalition Forces during the 1st Gulf War.
A straight-shooter, common-sense, humble and brilliant man, who said that the quality of your decisions would not increase beyond knowing 75% of the available information.
His point is that at a certain point you have all the information you need so that you can make a good decision. Trying to gather more information will seldom improve that decision. In common parlance, avoid analysis paralysis.
Have you ever pushed yourself to your maximum threshold of discomfort and physical ability?
Once you hit that threshold, the point when your mind believes you are done, your body has only used approx. 75% of your energy.
Special Forces Soldiers know that at that point you think you are done, your body still can do 25% – 40% more. Humans are evolutionarily designed to have energy in reserve so when you are trying to run down a mammoth or escape a sabre-tooth tiger, and you feel you have nothing left to give. You still have a reserve, hopefully enough to either escape or bring dinner home.