My supervisor, an expert strategic planner, asked me to gather data for a special project
and report my findings. A couple of days later, he asked me, “How’s it going?”
“Great,” I said. “I’m gathering a lot of data.”
Two days later, he asked the same question. “How’s the project going?”
“Great,” I answered. “I’m waiting a little more information and I’ll have everything I need.”
His response was explosive: “What are you being paid for?!”
“To gather data and derive correct conclusions…” I said.
“No!” he said and kicked my desk. “You’re paid to make quick and correct decisions, even without all the data. Waiting wastes time and opportunity and makes the answer obvious—which means we don’t need you.”
The lesson I learned: The challenge of management is not to be right all the time, but to make good decisions with the available time and data.
Adding value means taking risks.