Weekly Business Idea

February 16, 2018 – Do You Have Courage?

Posted on | February 16, 2018 | No Comments

Main Idea:

Are you a courageous person?  Do you test the limits?  Do you agonize over decisions because you are afraid to make the wrong one?  Do you put off having difficult conversations because you are afraid of the outcome?

Expansion of the Idea:

Last weekend, my wife and I went to see “The Post”.  This movie shows the events that led to the Washington Post publishing the Pentagon Papers.  The Pentagon Papers outlined the Pentagon’s views of the Vietnam War and how it was an unwinnable war.  The papers clearly showed that each administration from Eisenhower through Nixon lied to the American public.  Publishing the papers was considered an act of treason by the Nixon White House because the papers were classified.  The movie showed the gradual change in Katherine Graham’s maturity from a Washington insider and socialite to a business executive.  (Meryl Streep as Katherine Graham and Tom Hanks as Ben Bradley were great.)

The key point of the movie was the decision to publish the papers.  Katherine Graham struggled with this decision because she was risking everything on the decision.  Her key legal and business advisors told her not to publish.  The only advisor who told her to publish was Ben Bradley.  If the courts held that she was violating national security, the paper would have been shut down, she would have lost everything and probably would have gone to jail.  This is a pretty tough decision.  Ultimately her decision was guided by two main things.

  • Purpose of the Washington Post and the press in general
  • Core values of the Washington Post

If the Post had failed to publish, it would not have continued to function as a check on government.  Katherine Graham played the decision to publish and not to publish forward and evaluated where the paper would be in both situations.  The bottom line was that there was only one outcome that was good.  And that was not completely under the paper’s control.

Most of us do not have such monumental decisions to make.  However, we are faced with tough decisions all the time.  Some of the decisions are made by us and some of the decisions are made by us not making a decision.  It can be a real problem if we don’t face reality when:

  • A key employee is not performing
  • Your biggest customer needs to be fired
  • A long time vendor needs to be changed
  • Your company had a data breach
  • Your business model isn’t working

There are numerous other examples of problems that need to be addressed.  When we make tough decisions sooner rather than later, we normally end up in a better place.  This also builds decision making muscles.  It gets easier once we start doing the right things.

There are a couple of keys to making courageous decisions.  One is making sure you are getting good advice from your advisors.  And the second is to make sure you are connected to others.  Henry Cloud talks about this in his book, The Power of the Other.  When we are connected to others and not isolated, our decisions are significantly better.  Katherine Graham had great advisors who were focused on her.  Even though they didn’t all agree, she was able to gather a variety of viewpoints.  She also knew that they were in it with her.  That makes a huge difference in her ability to make quality decisions.  By doing it right, she saved the paper and shortened the Vietnam War.

What action or decision are you putting off?

Here are some questions to consider:

  1. Do you have decisions to be made that you are avoiding?
  2. Do you feel isolated or connected?
  3. Is your purpose and the purpose of the business clear?
  4. What are your core values?
  5. What would your team say about the questions above?


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  • About

    These weekly ideas are brought to you by FitzGerald & FitzGerald P.C. For more information about how to use these ideas with your small business contact Tim FitzGerald at trfitz@fitz-net.com.