Silicon Valley State of Mind, a blog by John Weathington, "The Science of Success"
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Silicon Valley State of Mind

Tips, thoughts, and advice based on the consulting work of John Weathington, "The Science of Success."

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Posted by on in Leadership

My trees this morning are filled with little men in fluorescent jackets. Fall is right around the corner, and the huge oak trees on our property will soon start dumping leaves and nuts in our pool creating a huge mess. It’s been a few years since we’ve done anything with the trees, so a tree intervention is required. In times like this, I turn to a specialist—no questions asked. If you forgo the services of a specialist when one is required, you do far more damage than good.

As I see it, I have a number of options, I could:

  • Do nothing,
  • Try to do it myself,
  • Try to find cheap labor,
  • Try to find a new specialist,
  • Use my friend, who is a tree specialist that has done great work for me in the past.

I’m sure you can guess which route I took. If I do nothing, the pool will soon be filled with leaves and acorns, and next year the problem will be worse. I’m not inclined to do it myself because I don’t know anything about trimming trees, and there’s nothing about my life strategy that involves building a competence in tree trimming. There are two problems with cheap labor: they probably don’t have insurance so the risk is too high, and they don’t know enough about tree trimming to ensure my objectives are met. If I didn’t already have a relationship with a tree specialist, I would probably look for one. I’m not about to let the problem continue, kill myself by falling from an oak tree, or fight a personal injury lawsuit.

Leaders face decisions like this all the time—and often make bad choices, typically guided by a short-term purview. They either ignore problems that need to be addressed; try to solve problems in-house when they have no competence, experience, or strategic alignment; or pursue a shortcut at a lower price. In all three cases, the result is an unnecessary, estimable cacophony that wastes both time and money.

If you extend your purview a bit, and focus on value instead of cost, making good decisions in this situation are easier. If you need a specialist—hire a specialist. It’s really that simple. The last thing you need is detritus floating around in your waters.

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