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10 Sure Signs There’s Trouble Ahead

Optimism is a surprising disappointment when you imagine a hungry lion wants to play.

Skillful leaders anticipate trouble. Short-sighted leaders press forward and suffer.

Anticipating potential problems isn’t pessimism until it’s an excuse to give up.

10 sure signs there’s trouble ahead:

  1. Tomorrow looks just like today. Patterns are predictors.
  2. Optimism is an excuse for lack of preparation. Optimism isn’t believing the path forward is easy. It’s confidence that progress is possible with hard work and determination. Any form of optimism that minimizes hard work is foolishness.
  3. New relationships are rare and old relationships circle the past.
  4. Longing for the past is brighter than dreaming of the future. “When your memories exceed your dreams, the end is near.” Andy Stanley
  5. You think you’ve arrived. There is only the journey. Arrival is death.
  6. Learning stops. Leaders are learners. When learning stops, life spirals inward and downward.
  7. Problem-talk exceeds solution-talk. Words are rudders. Teams move in the direction of their conversations. Anyone who talks about quitting will eventually quit.
  8. Talk doesn’t distill into action. The seduction of talk is it feels like you’re getting something done.
  9. Bringing value to others is lost in busy work.
  10. Team members feel excluded. Excluding creates resistance even if it’s unintended.

5 ways to prepare for trouble:

  1. Anticipate it. 
  2. Ask about it. What might go wrong?
  3. Notice patterns. The third conversation about the same problem is a problem.
  4. Reject fantasizing about easy solutions. Solving is hard.
  5. Act. Any action that won’t cause harm is good.

The best time to get out of trouble is before it happens.

The ability to anticipate potential problems isn’t a skill until it’s combined with action. Thinking is 10% of the solution; action is the other 90%.

How might leaders anticipate problems without becoming negative?

What are the best ways to prepare for trouble?

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