In an on-going discussion of Decisions in Leadership, we are exploring several questions that can help ascertain whether a decision will produce positive outcomes for those affected by the leader’s choice of direction. Last week we looked at contrast between that which is ultimately good - or just currently popular.
This week we will explore further the whether the choice I am considering is really valuable or simply cheap/inexpensive. And, yes, cost-consciousness is usually a key component of consideration for our decisions as leaders.
Yet there is a difference between being financially astute and simply being cheap. I remember the time my father wanted to acquire a rotary lawnmower. He found one on sale. It was really cheap. Once home, we found it was extremely hard to start – and it got worse each week throughout the mowing season. Even worse, at the start of the next season it would not start…so off to the store to buy another cheap lawn-mower.
Repeat. the. above. experience.
For. Several. More. Years.
Finally, Dad decided to purchase a high quality commercial mower. It was significantly more expensive than the cheap model – or models, plural – had been. And yet it started easily. Year after year. And it lasted a couple of decades. In the end, the average cost per year was far less than the repeated purchase of multiple cheap mowers had been. Lesson learned: there is a difference between cheap/inexpensive – and real value.
And the consequences are even more significant when we are in leadership at which point our decisions affect others – sometimes many others.
This lesson has, obviously, carried forward for many years in my life. Yes, being cost-conscious is a crucial skill in leadership – and yet, as a leader it also is wise to ponder the question when we are making a decision, “Is the choice really valuable or simply cheap/inexpensive?”