Thermometers tell the temperature; thermostats change the temperature. Which one are you?
Thermometers are those who simply tell folks what is going on and often times state that something is amiss. Conversely, thermostats identify a problem and make adjustments accordingly. While thermometers are valuable; thermostats are powerful. Below are some steps to become a thermostat:
Be action oriented
Thermostats take charge to achieve desired results. If the Temperature is too high, the thermostat will read the temperature and then tell the AC to turn until the desired temperature is achieved. In business, there is value in knowing something is wrong (what the temperature is), but it is those who are willing to actively take steps to mitigate/fix the problem that bring value to an organization
Know what the temperature is
Having the ability to change the environment/temperature does not mean one should. For example, if the room temperature is 72 degrees, there is no need to turn on the heater or air conditioner. One must understand what information is available, analyze the information and then execute. The one's who turn on the heater when the temperature is already 90 degrees quickly burn out their team, resources and customers. Therefore, know the temperature of the environment you are operating in.
Run just long enough to achieve the target
Thermostats have one goal in mind: keep all resources running that moves the temperature in the desired direction just long enough to achieve the target temperature. Cooling the room beyond what is necessary will not only waste valuable resources, but also make the inhabitants of the room uncomfortable. Leaders must first know what the target they are tasked with achieving, what resources they have at their disposal, what time frame is acceptable and how long to maintain or exceed the target. Overachieving on a target will deplete valuable resources that may be necessary to accomplish other tasks. This includes both physical resources and mental resources.
Thermometers are completely necessary in everyday life, but leaders must be thermostats who can manipulate their environment to achieve desired results. To make the most of the resources you have been blessed with you must: be action oriented, know what the temperature is (solicit feedback) and run your team just long enough (and no more) to achieve the desired target/goal. In sum, when you are discussing problems with colleagues, do not simply talk about what is wrong, but bring to the table potential solutions to such problems and observe the difference your energy can make with those you directly interact with.