In 1944, General Eisenhower, the Allied Supreme Commander in Europe, had to make one of the most significant decisions of WWII, and time was running out. He had already delayed the D-Day for a month, and he now set a date of June 5, 1944. The weather forecast for June 5 was rain and heavy seas.
Less than 24 hours before the scheduled invasion, he gathered his advisers again. The weather forecast indicated that the rain would stop, and there would be clear sky breaks in the clouds in the afternoon on June 5. Still, his meteorologists predicted improved conditions for the following day.
Eisenhower decided to delay and changed the date for D-Day to June 6.
Eisenhower made a decision and gave the order to set in motion the most massive amphibious invasion in world history; 4,000 warships, 10,000 aircraft, and 160,000 troops. Eisenhower had won his gamble with the weather, and within two months, Allied forces broke out from their Normandy beachheads and began their long battle march to liberate Europe.
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The problem with hiring people from large, slow-moving companies like Google, Apple, Facebook, Big Banks, Consulting firms, Big 4 Accounting shops, and top tier law firms is that long timer employees at these companies are conditioned to only make decisions when they have “all” the information. They are not comfortable operating in the grey spaces. They want it black or white. This ends up paralyzing their day to day decisions, and they get out-innovated in the long run.
Work with folks who move fast and comfortable making a call with incomplete information, and listen to their gut and data at the time.
You know when you are in the flow. Decisions feel like perfectly paired joints locking together. Opportunities in the form of people, ideas and things uncloak. You don’t look back or forward, there is only now. Recognize and remember the flow feeling. You’ll know it when you feel it.
Ethical questions get really tough when you start to intellectualize them.
Here’s a mock question? Should you allow tobacco companies to advertise with your company. This means exposing their brand and messaging to your community.
Here’s the dilemma…the evidence tells us that smoking causes cancer and host of other health problems, but the tobacco industry creates jobs and it’s a free country, people can smoke if they want to, so who are we to judge? Smoking related illness cost the taxpayer millions of dollars per year in healthcare resources and burden the already strained healthcare networks. That’s not a good thing right?
What about the cash these advertisers give you? You could use that money to experiment and build life changing products.
What about the optics? How much revenue will they bring in for the company? What is if it’s only 10% of total ad revenue vs. 50%? Is there a threshold % that makes it acceptable? By allowing these brands to advertise are you indirectly enticing more kids to start smoking?
Other companies take their money, why shouldn’t you?
See what I mean…it’s starts to get really sticky when you try to answer the question within an intellectual framework. You could probably justify a yes or a no answer.
Why not try something different? Ask your gut the same question with the following context – Are you making the world a better place by [insert question]. In other words are you contributing to a better world by advertising cigarettes to your audience. Avoid the temptation to define “better” or “world”, just ask yourself the question. Your gut will give you the answer. It may not be the answer you want to hear, but my advice would be to go with it.
When I don’t go with my gut on these things, I normally fall on my face.