Effective first

An effective first approach prioritizes getting your work done (feeding your family, achieving your goal, helping a friend, etc.), within the boundaries of your values and ethics.

When you work from a stance of effective first, you prioritize doing the real thing. You tell people about what you’re doing. Through this doing, you get the information you need to make effective decisions. You refrain from cutting corners.

You show up every day, especially on days you don’t feel like it. Sometimes, you take a less prominent role in order to learn and compete at a higher level.

As you learn, you update your plan so it better enables you to get your work done. You don’t get too precious about your plan. In fact, sometimes, you realize that you may need to change the plan—and you’ll need to do the thing you didn’t want to do, in order to get your work done.

You make decisions (in timely fashion) and accept tradeoffs

You don’t let preciousness stop you from delivering work, so long as the work is acceptable.

When you receive real feedback, you acknowledge it and learn from it—even if it hurts. While you do this, you also keep faith that things will work out in the long run, even if it sounds delusional. You listen for new metaphors to help you understand the world. 

Rather than try to avoid concerns, you steer into them to better understand how to move forward.

Instead of quick fixes, you work with longcuts, knowing that the long way is the shortest way.

You practice restraint.

Hugh MacLeod writes in Ignore Everybody, “The best thing to be in this world is an effective human being. Sometimes that requires money, sometimes it doesn’t. Be ready for either when it happens.”

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