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Why do we face dilemmas at work?

Dilemmas, those tricky situations where you have to choose between two seemingly equal options. They can be a real brain teaser. But you know what? When one of those options is clearly inferior, the choice is a walk in the park. It's when both options seem equally compelling that the real head-scratching, the sankat begins.

Let's talk about one common dilemma many of us encounter at work: speed or quality.

In some scenarios, speed is the name of the game. We need to get things done, pronto! In others, it's all about quality, ensuring that every "i" is dotted and every "t" is crossed. This balancing act is usually crystal clear in the head of the CEO. They know when to lean on the gas pedal for speed and when to exercise caution for quality.

But here's the problem: this clarity doesn't always trickle down the org chart as smoothly as we'd like to think.

In the early days, when the team is small and the customer asks for something, the CEO makes the call. It's straightforward decision-making, and it often gets mistaken for alignment across the ranks.

Now, as the organization grows, more leaders join the party, and decisions start piling up. The CEO wisely wants to avoid becoming a bottleneck for every choice, and that's where the plot thickens. People throughout the organization start facing dilemmas of their own - how should they decide when there's no CEO to call the shots?

The history of these dilemmas often resembles a seesaw. Sometimes, the team rushes for speed, and other times they pivot towards quality. The framework the CEO uses for decision-making might not be as intuitive for others as we'd like to believe. So what do the employees use as precedent?

It's a mix of things - sometimes it's a lack of context, other times a shared vision isn't quite there. What options do employees have in such situations? Well, they could go back to the CEO, but that often means delayed decision-making, and no one wants that. Or, they might take matters into their own hands. Occasionally, they are right but the fact is that people are just hoping they're right.

The problem? These decisions, and the reasoning behind them, often don't find their way back to the CEO's ears. So, there's no chance to identify gaps and refine the process. Instead, we end up in a never-ending cycle of trial and error.

Here's the thing: dilemmas are a part of life, especially in a growing organization. But the key to tackling them isn't just about choosing one side of the scale or the other. It's about establishing a shared understanding of the principles guiding those decisions, fostering alignment, and bridging the gap between the choices we make and the context that shapes them.

So, let's embrace those dilemmas, learn from them, and use them as stepping stones to better alignment and decision-making. After all, it's the dilemmas that often lead to the most insightful "aha" moments in our journey.

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