Decision Making Models: Know When to Blow It Up

When is it the best decision start over?


Paul Schur, General Manager of Slalom in Atlanta, discusses the challenges leaders face in deciding whether to fix a situation or recognizing when it’s time to start over -- what he calls, “blowing it up.”

It’s a decision-making process that all leaders experience in their careers, and Paul shares his core values as he takes us through the steps of his own process.

So at times you'll find yourself in a situation where you try to fix things. And so you're either given a situation or you've developed a situation. And you think, "Only 10% there. A little bit more effort and I can get this thing around the corner or over the hill." And sometimes you've got to sit back and ask yourself, do I just need to start over? Do I need to blow up this and start over? Or can you truly fix it?

I had an example where that was the case. Where I truly did feel we were really close to resolving it. And for every one problem we found, there seemed to be another one around the corner.

And so you have to be aware of that pattern. And so after three, four, five of those, you need to ask yourself, is this a time to start over? Sometimes you've just got to blow it up and explain why. And depending on, of course what and who's involved. If it's your decision and it's your action that got you into that situation, then again, go with your gut, blow it up and explain.

And I think being vulnerable as leader is important because it does drive connection. I think it's important. It sets the culture and the tone of a leadership team and as an entire organization. But if you can be vulnerable, admit your mistakes, come up with a plan of action to move forward on how to resolve it. Versus getting your pride in the way. I think it's a really important thing to consider.

It turned out to be a bad situation for all the stakeholders involved. And I think blowing it up early would have saved a lot of effort, time and energy. And at the end of the day the longer you wait, the bigger the blow up is going to be. And so, again, if your gut is telling you that this is not the right thing to do, to keep forging forward, then call it out. If you think about companies who want to be innovative, you have to take risk. You have to take chances. And you can't be afraid to fail.

Paul Schur

Paul is currently the General Manager of Slalom's Atlanta Office. He has over 15 years of consulting experience (10 years with Accenture), including strategic product launches, large outsourcing arrangements, and new digital and mobil...

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