Four important ideas from Wharton professors last week:

  • Be decisive – Michael Useem
  • Save more earlier – Olivia Mitchell
  • Buy stocks – Jeremy Siegel
  • Advertise on TV – Peter Fader

Applause please.  I just saved you four hours.  Actually, the conversations each of these professors put around these ideas were compelling and well worth participating in.  But I digress.  I’m waffling.  I’m not focusing.  Professor Useem would not be pleased.

Professor Useem makes a strong case for the importance of seizing leadership opportunities by making the required decisions on a timely basis with the best possible information you have at the time.  People like Strong Vincent moving his brigade to secure the end of the line at Gettysburg, John Chambers making the critical acquisitions at Cisco, John F. Kennedy standing up to Russia during the Cuban missle crisis made those decisive choices.  Others fail to make those decisions and fade away into oblivion.

This is especially important in the early days of onboarding into a new role.  Of course it’s tougher.  Of course you don’t fully understand the context.  Of course you’re going to make mistakes and have to suffer the consequences of those mistakes.  But the consequences of not making decisions far outweigh the consequences of the mistakes you’ll make.  The biggest risk of all is not taking any risks.

I’m not suggesting that you have to make all the decisions yourself.  I am suggesting you should be clear on when you choose to make decisions with others’ input, and when others should make decisions with your input.  And, by the way, I’m right.

Save more earlier.  Buy stocks.  Advertise on TV.  Above all else, be decisive.

George Bradt – PrimeGenesis Executive Onboarding and Transition Acceleration