I want to explore a cool concept called: first, second and third-order consequences Ultimately, if you want better results in your business, you need to make better quality decisions, but the decisions you make have short, medium and long-term consequences.
Often I find that most people make their decisions based on the first-order consequences or the short-term consequences.
Let’s say that an essential piece of work needs to be done; you decide that you are going to do it; well, the first-order consequence is: great, the job gets done gets delivered to the client, so – box ticked, happy days!, not entirely, because the second-order result is that if you have that kind of mindset that you are the only person that can do that particular piece of work when that particular piece of work needs to be done in the future
who’s going to have to do it?.
You, because you’re not actively trying to train other people to do that piece of work So the second-order consequence is that you get stuck doing that kind of work over and over, and over again and then what you’ll find is that you may not have enough time to think, you might not have enough time to plan properly you might not have enough time to give the other parts of your business the attention that they need so the third-order consequence is: over time, over the long-term you don’t grow you don’t develop the skills that you need, your people might get stuck your people might leave because they don’t feel like they’re valued or they’re not being stretched, or they’re not as engaged in the development of your business
So if you had a will, where you only made decisions based on the second and third-order consequences, how much better would your life be? Yes, you’d need to take the short-term pain; you’d need to take the short-term hit, but the long-term would be significantly better I think that the default position for many people is just constantly thinking about the short-term consequences.
My challenge to you is to stop doing that and think about the second and third-order consequences when you come to making decisions; and I think you’ll find that life will be significantly better, and your actions and decisions will result in much better outcomes and results.
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Marco Soares is an award-winning business coach in Sussex and is available if you’d like help implementing these tactics.