The down side of Options

Frequently leaders create options. Problem solving is about options. Brainstorming sessions generate options. We love life when it presents options. On the other hand, we feel trapped when we don’t have options.

Never the less, too many options paralyze. For example, every salesperson knows customers can’t choose if too many options are present. Customers choose best in an either/or situation.

Options also drain enthusiasm and commitment. You’re never 100% committed to plan A when plan B sits in the wings. Perhaps engagement and marriage best illustrate this idea. When couples get engaged they eliminate options. They chose one. There’s no enthusiasm and commitment if they keep plan B open. It’s unfulfilling to enter marriage filled with thoughts about others you might have married.

Making a decision eliminates options. That’s one reason decision making can be difficult. However, you can’t move forward while focusing on an option that might have been.

Frequently, organizational and personal success depend on your ability to eliminate all the options you’ve created except one. In this case, keeping all your options opened paralyzes progress and reinforces the status quo.

Triumphant forward movement requires turning your back on all options except one and pursuing that option with gusto.


What other “O’s” can you offer leaders?

When should we keep our options opened?


You’ve just read the “O” installment of the series, “Alphabet for Leaders.”