It’s amazing the difference a little four letter word can make. The right four letter word.

Larry had a situation to tackle. We brainstormed all the possible approaches, weighed the pros and cons, reviewed a cost/benefit analysis and then Larry chose his path. Next he made an action plan and time table.

Each time Larry and I met after that, he wanted to discuss a different approach. He had good reasons, was excited about the change and bolted out of each meeting, ready to take action.

Between meetings though, instead of taking action, he came up with more new ideas that would take him in a different direction.

My job as his manager and coach was to call attention to this pattern.

He declared himself to be at a crossroads. As we reviewed the situation, all his ideas and the difficulty of choosing between them, we decided it was more like being at a roundabout than a crossroads.

I told him about the time I was working through a problem with a coach and she said to me, “Jan, you’ve been circling this for a long time.”

Oohh. It made me so mad. I wasn’t going in circles. I was working really hard - working the plan - step by step - marching right along.

And then I realized she was right. I was marching right along but marching in place. Going no where except maybe in circles which is okay for a merry-go-round operator or a cat ready for a nap.

I was still mad. Not at her. I was driving myself - and I’m sure others - mad.

“Same here. My staff and my wife - they say I’m driving them nuts, ” Larry said. And then in his funny way said, “Help me find a cure before March Madness turns into April Anger.”

Ending March Madness requires a different approach for different people depending on many factors which can’t all be addressed here. But for Larry’s situation, it seemed best to start by consulting the list of favorite strategies and trigger words he had collected during the time we had worked together.

The current situation was similar in terms of the fear associated with climbing walls, crossing bridges, taking turns and jumping off logs (discussed in earlier articles). With each of these though, choices had been made, direction had been determined.

With the current situation, choices were being made but commitment was short lived. Round and round - a path leading to March Madness.

Larry had to choose a direction - any direction - or be satisfied with doing nothing.

If you’ve been in this situation before, you know how difficult it can be. And you understand how strategies that include a push or a pull or a jump could make it harder and scarier for Larry.

A better approach would be a strategy he had discovered on Leap Day when we talked about some leaps he could take. He had taken every one of them and found it so much easier and more fun than a push or a pull or even a jump. There was something uplifting about a leap - a word that’s even fun to say.

Back to the current situation. Larry went all the way around one more time - wisely reviewing his options. His first choice from before was his first choice again. And this time, instead of pushing himself to a dark and scary unknown place - he was ready to leap into a fun filled adventure.

And if it didn’t work out? He could always come back - and leap into another fun filled adventure.

Nothing had changed except perception - a small but powerful change.

All from one little four letter word.

Just the right four letter word to help Larry leap ahead - ending March Madness.

2008 Copyright - Jan Bolick, Business Class Inc
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Author's Bio: 

Jan has 30 years of sales & management experience and loves sharing it with managers and business owners to help them boost morale and performance so that they can achieve their goals. For more information about the resources provided by Business Class, visit httbusinessclassinc.com.