“Do or don’t do.  There is no try.”  said Yoda to the young Luke Skywalker and this is also appropriate for small businesses.  We use the word “try” because we like the way it sounds.  “I tried to make the goal, but I missed”; “I tried to sell the extra service but the customer wasn’t interested”; “I tried to lose weight, but I just have a weird metabolism”.   Notice that “tried” is almost always accompanied by “but”.

Most of the time, when someone says “I’m trying” or “I tried”, they may not want to say “I failed when I did what I was asked” or “I started, stopped and never got back” or “I don’t know how to do it”.  Who wants to acknowledge failure?    Leaders need to allow for failure and use it just like an engineer would to test a product until it fails.

Here are six simple tips for leaders to use to get the “try” and “but” out of their businesses.

  • Anticipate:  Most workers see what is ahead; leaders need to monitor the companies peripheral vision by searching beyond the current boundaries and constantly scanning the horizon.
  • Think:  Re-frame problems to find the root cause; challenge current beliefs and uncover hypocrisy, manipulation and bias in business decisions.
  • Interpret:  Gather information from multiple sources and test other ways of doing things – test, not try, means have a plan, act, review and correct.
  • Decide:  As the leader, this is your job and “trying” to always make the best decision will not make you, your staff or Yoda happy.  Leave perfection outside and balance speed, quality and agility.
  • Align:  Know your goals so that everyone knows how the day to day work aligns to the goals.  Know your staffs’ agendas beyond their job (family, faith, hobbies) as motivation and resistance can come from many sources.
  • Learn:  Ask for feedback and when getting it, Listen with your Ears and Mind, Hear with your Heart, Respond with Gratitude.

Help your inner Yoda have a great Monday, get off your “but”  and “Do or don’t do” today and see what happens.  Check out more Yoda for the work place.  Yoda