Champion Leadership Tip #29 – Leaders Understand the Difference Between Musts & Wants

On Saturday I found myself in the middle of a shoulder-stand towards the end of my yoga class when the instructor said, “if at any time you feel the need to come out of your shoulder-stand, please feel free to go in to a more appropriate pose for you.”

It got me thinking. Because in that moment I said to myself, “that’s interesting. I don’t feel a ‘need’ to come out of this pose but I sure do ‘want’ to.”

I decided to hang in there for a few more breaths, knowing that the instructor would be taking us out of the shoulder-stand in less than a minute. “This too shall pass…breathe…breathe.” Done, just a moment later we rolled out of it.

Leaders must be able to differentiate between their ‘needs,’ or in business I prefer to focus on “musts,” and “wants,” too. It, often times, can be the difference between success and failure.

Leaders have to make many important decisions, some times with little time to invest, but every key decision must come with a full evaluation of “musts” and “wants.”

This is basic negotiation skills.

“Musts” = the non-negotiables, these are things that you are not willing to give up, or not get after making a decision.

“Wants” = the things you’d like to have, but are willing to live without. You are willing to negotiate those away in order to make sure you get your “musts.”

A recent client was having challenges making a hiring decision. I took them through this exercise having them identify the “must” traits and their “want” traits. It gave them a greater sense of confidence that they could now evaluate their candidates against their own clear standards.

But, for now think of a decision you need to make and take out a sheet of paper. Draw a line down the center of the page, write “Musts” on top of the left column and “Wants” on the top of the right column.

Then, think about the end result you’d like this decision to bring you and the “musts” you need to achieve to make it successful, and the other things you’d like to have, or the “wants.” You are on your way to making a great decision.

More on leadership decision making in next week’s Champion Leadership Tip.

Decision-making is one of the “3 D’s of Leadership” to read more about those, read this article.

’til next time,

skip weisman, helping leaders motivate employees to improve organizational performance