A few weeks ago, I enthusiastically jumped in my Honda with a clear intention on lunch with a colleague in Williamsburg, about one hour from my office near Richmond. I knew the broad strokes of how to get there, but needed an assist for the final approach, so I plugged the address into my handy GPS. As I entered the interstate, the friendly GPS voice calmly shared this feedback “Awaiting Better Accuracy”. Having never heard this message before, my first inclination was to confirm. As I looked at the screen, I saw the same warning, which I must admit was a bit more ominous in writing when compared to the kind, calm GSP tone. I had actually purchased this electronic wonder to improve my accuracy on the roadways, so an uncomfortable blend of amusement and panic set in fairly quickly. If it didn’t know where we were going, we were in trouble. So I did what I always do when presented with a problem: I started asking questions. Is this a temporary problem? Will my GPS achieve better accuracy, if I wait patiently? Is the cloud cover causing a reception problem? Will I be late for my appointment? Most importantly, why won’t the GPS answer my questions? I was driving east on the interstate, so I knew I was going in the right direction, but I didn’t know what to do next. For about 5 minutes, I drove with no further direction and an uneasy feeling. Then, just like that, my GPS became unstuck, realized where we were, and got back on track. Problem solved.
As I continued on, the discomfort that accompanied the “Awaiting Better Accuracy” message stayed with me. Something about those few minutes of uncertainty made an impact. What if my GPS had remained stuck? What would I have done? When would I have acted? Just how long would I have waited?
The words kept flashing through my mind: Awaiting Better Accuracy. I thought about the leaders I’ve worked with over the years and their decision-making strategies. Like most of us, they had at times become unclear and then stuck – awaiting better accuracy to decide direction. Some embraced the uncertainty, named it, owned it, and reduced it. They sought answers. Others took a very different approach. They waited….and waited…and waited… for better accuracy to materialize on its own. There are many reasons that individuals don’t act, including resistance to acknowledging problems, lack of prioritization, or faith that problems will resolve themselves before becoming unavoidable. So, my thought for the day is this: the next time you get stuck, will you seek the information you need to move to your final destination, or continue driving down an uncharted path? Ask questions…find answers.