Enemies of Agility


I was in a friendly game of poker with some dads in the neighborhood. I observed that some of them tended to stay in each hand longer than conventional wisdom suggests. I hadn't drank enough bourbon whiskey to keep me from thinking about agility in decision-making. 

Here are some thoughts about enemies of agility, many overlapping, that I hope my poker competitors never read.

MOMENTUM. This may be the greatest enemy of agility. This is a reliance on the things that have gotten you to where you currently are. And thinking those same things will get you even further. You've gotta be able to stop before you can pivot. 

COMMITMENT. This is when you're so invested already, you can't possibly cut your losses. So you keep investing more into a losing endeavor. In poker, the term is "pot-committed," referring to the inability to fold your hand. 

EMOTION. We've all known people who identify themselves with a work project or hobby. This emotional attachment keeps us from properly walking away from bad options. Emotional investment is what can keep us on the path that goes over the cliff. 

FOCUS ON HOW. If you're driven by procedure or plans, you become vulnerable to situational changes. Procedures focus on "How" rather on Why or What. And procedures, being action-oriented, tend to ignore sense-making of the current conditions and weak signals. The Illinois Model promotes process & strategy over procedure. 

PERFECTION. The strive for perfection prevents us from publishing drafts, exposing unrefined ideas, and opening ourselves up to feedback. Instead, we put tremendous effort into places it might not be necessary or appreciated. 

Soon after I hit PUBLISH on this post, I will certainly think of other ways I could have listed, sliced, or presented these ramblings. Thankfully I'm rarely hampered by perfection. 


Lou Hayes, Jr. is a detective supervisor in a suburban Chicago police department. He's focused on multi-jurisdictional crime patterns & intelligence, through organic working groups compromised of investigators & analysts from a variety of agencies. With a passion for training, he studies human performance, decision-making, creativity, emotional intelligence, & adaptability. In 2021, he went back to college (remotely!), in hopes to finally finish his undergrad degree from the University of Illinois - Gies College of Business. Follow Lou on LinkedIn, & also the LinkedIn page for The Illinois Model


Popular posts from this blog

Presentation Hack: Your Last Slide(s)

Presentation Hack: "For those of you who don't know me..."

The Generalist versus The Specialist