Script the Critical Moves

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One takeaway from Switch: We become paralyzed in new situations if the next steps aren’t clear.

The Rider, the rational side of the brain, can become overwhelmed and default back to the status quo. When we’re looking at behavior change, it’s important to “script the critical moves.” Identify the foundational actions that will get you most of the way.

This applies to fitness, career changes, finances and more. Identifying the critical moves early on will provide an escape hatch when overwhelm hits.

Take leadership for example. It’s difficult. There are times when you feel completely lost and incompetent. In those scenarios, revisiting the fundamentals can be key. For example, here are my fundamentals when it comes to leading a team:

  1. Have one-on-ones with every team member starting with “What awesome thing can we celebrate?” and ending with “What can I hold you accountable for?” and “What can you hold me accountable for?”
  2. Invite in feedback through many mechanisms across the year. Include anonymous survey-based feedback and performance reviews.
  3. Collaborate with the team to set clear goals. Revisit those goals on a weekly basis and identify next steps.

If I cover those, I can breathe easier knowing that the house isn’t burning down.

The same works for finance by the way:

  1. Pay down your smallest debts first.
  2. Setup automated transfers into your savings account, 401k, and IRA.
  3. Auto-invest in index funds.
  4. Bump up your retirement contribution by 1% every time you get a raise.

That might not make you Warren Buffett, but you’ll be far ahead of the pack.

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