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What happened the last time you decided on a course of action and took 180-degree turn at the last second?

Last week a near collision with a wall was a stark reminder. I clearly asked my horse for an advanced maneuver, and she was listening, poised to respond. At the precise moment she needed the final cue, my mind went blank and I moved in the opposite direction.

Thank God she has good brakes–we avoided the close call. I couldn’t help but feel guilty for sending mixed messages when she had fully put her trust in me.

The reason for the jumbled communication? I have NO idea…

I couldn’t help but think how unclear communication has, at times, impacted my work client projects and relationships with colleagues and subordinates in full time roles. 

Sometimes snap judgements are unavoidable. But usually when we’re leading others when we’ve communicated one thing and do another at the last second, it can damage relationships, break trust and create an uncomfortable working situation.

We’re all humans and we all make mistakes. Reflecting on if I was second-guessing my decision, was distracted by the cell phone vibrating in my pocket, or just blanked out. Whatever the cause, it forced me to think about how when we fail to be present in conversations with our teams–customers or staff– it creates uncertainty and confusion. 

None of us are perfect so it’s bound to happen. Awareness around when and why this happens is the first step to leading a steadier ship as a business owner or organizational leader.

I found myself pondering these three questions to help me recognize when I’m about to change course and pause long enough to consider if it’s the right choice:

1. What early warning signs can I recognize when I’m second-guessing a decision or interrupted by a distraction? 
2.  What caused the last minute change and how do I better prepare to avoid doing so?
3. What is it costing me to make the last-minute choice?