If you’ve ever planned a wedding, you’ll know that the hardest part about it is determining the guest list. If you invite your favorite Aunt Mabel, then you have to invite Aunt Daisy – even though you haven’t seen her in years. And if Mabel’s kids are invited, too, then there are all sorts of unspoken expectations that other guests’ children will be on the invitation list as well. You either opt for very small or bigger-than-you-expected because hitting the golden middle is extremely difficult.

I think that the “Goldilocks” expectation of being “just right” is the stuff of fairy tales most of the time. It’s hard to craft an important document that conveys detail and maintains brevity, so you opt for one direction or the other. It is challenging to deliver a speech that comes in exactly on timing – you often have too much to say in a short period or too little for the allotted timeframe. Determining the sweet spot of a budget takes some practice as well – after scrimping all year there seems to always be a mad dash to get a few more expenditures in before the fiscal year closes.

I think we falsely expect to hit any type of projection target with exact precision. Even a bullseye is, in essence, a range – the center circle affords several options as to where the dart may go within it. The key is knowing up front which end of the spectrum you are aiming for so when your later decisions are predicated on parameters set by your initial choices, you’re still able to hit your mark. Before you send out that first invitation, know if it’s more important to include everyone in the wedding or to keep it small.

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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