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Understand your fine print.

fine printAs I paged through the magazine enjoying my cup of coffee and the stillness of the morning, I laughed at the number of pages dedicated to the fine print.

Do they really think we read it?  And just so you know, if you do read it, the dire consequences of taking “this drug” or using “that item” featured usually includes death.  Wow!  So the marketers make the case for why you need this and the legal department covers their basis.  And they are on the same team. Both wanting you to buy their products (or they don’t have jobs)  But have you ever stopped to consider that their efforts potentially work against each other.

This same situation plays out every day in our lives.  It just isn’t always this obvious.

When was the last time you read your fine print?  You know – you know the rules on how you operate (what to do or not do when working with you, how to take care of you and what the risks are that someone might encounter). Or the important section on what to do if it isn’t working, or something needs attention? Do you have a 1.800 number you can call for assistance or a website to help?

Of course not, because we don’t come with an operating manual like the things we buy.  It’s up to us to write it and the people we lead understand it. But first we need to understand our our fine print.  Oh and by the way – when you understand it – usually you need to work to refine it.  And ultimately you need to live it.  Only then is it possible to share it so others know how we work.

How many of us put that work front and center?  Not many of course.

And because we don’t do the work, we don’t truly understands our own fine print.  Is it any wonder why things don’t work sometimes?  We get in our own way. We spin in perpetuity for new inputs (like our tablets and phones and computers).  And finally, the others (employees, bosses, family members) find it hard to work with us and optimize.

In today’s dynamic and chaotic world, it is critical to understand our fine print.  We cannot possibly lead the change and innovation necessary to grow (business, family other) with out it. Take a look around you.  For you to lead innovation you must build momentum. To build the momentum, you need to understand the fine print.

So next time you are sitting in the stillness of the morning, make a list of your fine print.  It will likely have the same impact on you that it does on me.  In the end, I am committed to become aware, understand, lead with intention and share my fine print with others so together we can do great work.

Are you?  It matters to you and the world around you.  Let’s commit to do the work so we can lead with intention, grounded in an understanding of ourselves and our fine print.



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