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Monday, February 7, 2011

It’s Now Or Never

If you are old enough, you know who made this phrase famous.  I can hear Elvis singing “Tomorrow will be too's now or never...”.  Elvis was so good at what he did, he only needed a first name to be memorialized forever.
As a Leader, we will also be remembered, for our Decisions, both good and poor.  But have you ever been with a Leader who just can not make a decision?  I wrote earlier of Life Is Full Of Choices...make one.  We learned “Rare Leaders™ must be Decisive”.  In my message Freedom Lies In Being Bold, I suggested “failure in Decision making is sometimes a Bold tool”. 
As Leaders, the opportunity to make Decisions is present at every moment.  We occasionally make Decisions quickly, or sometimes we have days to prepare.  Some Decisions are obvious, and some leave us with anxiety similar to buyers remorse.  We have made Decisions showering us with praise, and we have unfortunately made Decisions darkening us with blame.  We find the loneliness of Decision making is not for the meek.
In his short story “Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner”, Alan Sillitoe describes a young boy who uses running as a method of both an emotional and a physical escape from the bleak prospects and few interests of his personal life.  It was Sillitoe’s intention from the start to make Colin Smith deliberately lose the race. If he had won the race, he wouldn’t have been half the man he was. He had to lose.  He had to fail, in order to win.
Carrying the burden of making Decisions is heavy, especially when you carry the lives, and futures of so many people with you.  In this way, great Leaders carry a tremendous responsibility to others in their Decisions.  How do you find a healthy emotional and physical escape from the responsibility of your deliberate Decisions?  Because, looking back on your actions, you must have no regrets.  
You are a leader.  To be a Rare Leader™, you must make  deliberate Decisions, without regret, every day, every minute, with every breath you take.  That’s what Rare Leaders™ do.
  1. Who makes Decisions without Regret?
  2. What is your healthy escape from making Decisions?
  3. Where do you see Decisions not being made?
  4. When will you make deliberate Decisions?
  5. How will your Decisions impact others?
If you want to learn more about the Rare Leader™ in you, 
or if you are interested in retaining Steve as your Executive Coach, 
Contact Steve Riege via: twitter, or his website.


  1. Hi Steve,

    I share your thoughts, and in my own executive coaching work, I find the CEOs bearing the same burden of making tough decisions. I'd love to kick this around a little more, and get your thoughts on my recent blog post on this subject, Leadership Lessons | 5 warning signs you’re ignoring tough decisions:’re-ignoring-tough-decisions/

    Best Regards,


  2. Thanks Lary,

    I enjoyed your Blog on this topic. Your 5 warning signs - unwilling, uncertain, unclear, unknown, uninvolved support the need for Leaders to be decisive, bold, and courageous to be able work through the barriers.

    It reminds me of a recent comment where a coaching client said "this Leading stuff is hard".

    Thanks for the comment. I am including your blog on my attached list.

  3. Steve,

    Thanks for your kind words and support. I see you're in Wisconsin, home of good Midwesterners ... as I was born/raised in Michigan.

    I look forward to collaborating over time and getting better acquainted. While I am not currently using a blog list, we are considering it and I'll certainly include you. In the meantime, I've added your RSS feed to my Leadership blog list so we can stay in touch and I can likewise keep my subscribers and followers abreast oof some of your excellent content.

    All the best,


  4. Steve,

    The question in my mind - Is a leader willing to make a decision that may negatively impact his or her level of influence based on the lack of popularity of the decision?

    I believe that effective leaders are defined by their passion for the cause and are driven to make the appropriate decisions. Although certain decisions can sometimes diminish their influence temporarily, the strength to follow through with the decision will ultimately equip the leader for greater opportunities in the future.

  5. Thanks Steve, The loneliness’ of a leader when the decisions you make are yours even when you have had great input from your followers. The ability to be authentic and have courage when you know what you will say or do is not popular. Ah to be a leader is to be the most humble.

  6. Steve, this is so true. This is what differentiates great leaders from average leaders. I appreciate your post and the encouragement.

  7. Bill, Passion for the Cause...and being bold for it is a remarkable competency of a Leader. That lonely feeling of the impact of decisions is not for the meek, or for one without a strong passion for what they believe is right. Thanks for the great comment. I like your closing thought about following through to bring strength for future tough decisions.

  8. Peter, to be humble is a magnificent gift. It takes great strength to make tough decisions, but being humble in the face of great responsibility and outstanding successes shows great leadership.

  9. Glenn, Being bold is an important ingredient of "leveraging your strengths", as you point out so well in your blog. Thanks!

  10. Lary (Kirk),

    Thanks for your support and invitation to collaborate. Tell me where I can find your leadership blog.

  11. Steve, Great thoughts indeed.
    Taking right decisions is the core responsibility of a real leader. This is the invariable expectation of his team, organization or relevant stakeholders any time whether during a crisis management, operational issue, growth related issue or so. Inherently every decision should have risk mitigating plan to manage the consequences. A leader who delegate the decision making or who likes to escape from the consequences wouldn't sustain as a leader as he will lose the grip on his team. The comment "this Leading stuff is hard" is very right. Wonder the way you lead this stuff!

  12. Thanks Ram, I am also reminded of being Bold. There are several recent public instances of leaders making decisions. None of these decisions were 100% acceptable to all at the outset. However, being bold in their decision they were followed for their decisiveness, and history of being willing to carry the burden of others, especially in tough times. In the end, with everyone following, success mattered to all. Bold, deliberate decisions, without regret, every day - and accepting the consequences, that is core leadership. Thanks

  13. Steve -
    Reading through various posts on your blog this morning, I settled on this one as most current in my own work. "unwilling, uncertain, indecisive, waffling, doubtful...." none of these emotive states are going to serve. Napolean Hill, the old classic, first made me keenly aware of coming to a decision quickly, yet with clarity, and going forward to act on it. Just recently I was waffling on whether or not to join Toastmaster (I did it rather efficiently considering the fact that my inner objections were numerous) - Anyway, all of this to say I appreciated this post, for more reasons than you'd have time to read now- just came in to make a comment not write a book!
    Actually, ("But wait! There's more!" as they say on the Infomercials) > Actually, I just wanted to thank you for being so kind as to include me in you "FF" mentions and I had recently made a "firm" decision to opt out of that ritual for a while, leaving me with a pile of doubts as to how to handle my decision.
    I decided to thank each person individually who gives me such a mention.
    This is my thanks.
    See you around Twitterville