Karin’s Leadership Articles

The Problem With Short-Cuts

by | Jul 23, 2013 | By Karin Hurt, Results & Execution

I was her old boss, but it was more than that. She emailed, “I was offered a new job, I can’t decide.” I knew we needed to talk. I tried calling a few times that day. We’re both busy. Finally, I left an enthusiastic short-cut message with answers.

I shared my best “heartfelt, short-cut” response: 5 reasons she SHOULD take this job. Stretch. Professional Growth. Exposure and some stuff more personal. I ended with mutterings about taking this risk and to call me.

Big mistake.

No Short-Cuts without Questions

She called me. Thankfully before she followed any of that short-cut advice. Given the context, it was wrong.

Life is always more complicated than it appears.

People. Personalities. Dynamics. Stuff (for those so inclined, please feel free to substitute a stronger S word).

I listened. More. A few questions and then more listening.

The job clearly looked good on paper, but the personal stakes were high. At some point stakes matter more. As does timing.

“I hear your heart. You don’t want this job. Delete my voicemail,” I shared, trying to be as enthusiastic in my retraction as I was in the initial advice.

We both breathed a sigh of relief.

Karin Hurt

Karin Hurt helps human-centered leaders resolve workplace ambiguity and chaos, so that they can drive innovation, productivity and revenue without burning out employees. She’s the founder and CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders, an international leadership development and training firm known for practical tools and leadership development programs that stick. She’s the award-winning author of four books including Courageous Cultures: How to Build Teams of Micro-Innovators, Problem Solvers, and Customer Advocates and Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results-Without Losing Your Soul and a hosts the popular Asking For a Friend Vlog on LinkedIn. A former Verizon Wireless executive, Karin was named to Inc. Magazine’s list of great leadership speakers. Karin and her husband and business partner, David Dye, are committed to their philanthropic initiative, Winning Wells – building clean water wells for the people of Cambodia.


  1. Bill Benoist

    Hi Karin,

    Your comment, “The job clearly looked good on paper, but the personal stakes were high. At some point stakes matter more” really struck a chord with me. I was hoping I could ask you to expand your thoughts on this.

    Rather than taking a new job, what about leaving a current position. I know some unhappy people who stay in their current positions primarily for the money and benefits. They’re older, maybe have four or five weeks vacation built up, medical insurance rates might be lower, etc…. Those are their personal stakes for staying. Their values may no longer be aligned with the company (another personal stake) but they are afraid to leave because of what they would give up.

    (BTW – this is not a personal reference – I just come across folks like this at times 🙂


    • letsgrowleaders

      Bill, Thanks so much for your provocative question. In this case, the decision was about an internal move. Those certainly are less scary than changing companies, but still come with important decision points. This post expands more on some of all this.


      There are so many important factors to consider…. credibility and culture of the new team vs. old, the leader, the skills you will use and learn, alignment with your gifts, how it fits into your career path, opportunity costs for other jobs that may come along….

      hmmm… seems like fodder for a future post 😉

  2. Ali Anani (@alianani15)

    Karin- this is a difficult situation. Change is difficult unless the current job is appalling and repelling. Having two minds one favoring the new job and the other favoring the current job is strenuous. the future job is uncertain and more risky because of lack of familiarity. My deciding point has been based on answering the question: what are the prospects of learning and growing in the new job? If the answer is future possibilities exceed my current job then I would take risk. Worse, is to allow for this situation to prolong because it is straining.

    • letsgrowleaders

      Ali, you are right….career decisions can be so taxing. I agree that how much you will learn is a critical factor… also how much your contribution is needed.

  3. Bonnie Mann, CPA (@bonniemann)

    I have sometimes had similar situations that start with, “I’m out of options.” My response is you are never out of options. Many times people are so pushed to make the decision they think they should, they don’t stop to really explore all the other options. This is were listening can really help. Often the listening isn’t to inform the listener but to give voice to the ideas that are rolling around in the brain of the decision maker. After all of the listening the answer might not be any different than before but the act of talking it out can help the decision maker fell more confident in what they need to do.

    • Ali Anani (@alianani15)

      Bonnie- I like very much your statement “Often the listening isn’t to inform the listener but to give voice to the ideas that are rolling around in the brain of the decision maker”. I plan to grab it and use it with due acknowledgement in the presentation I am writing now for slideshare “Think Prints”. Thinkers leave prints which might be as short-lived as sand prints or may be of much longer life span. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • letsgrowleaders

      Bonnie, So true…. listening well brings clarity. I didn’t say much on that call… just a few questions. We all need sounding boards from time to time. I agree… there are always more options to uncover.

    • sue bock

      Absolutely Bonnie

  4. sue bock

    Karin, life is more than shortcuts. I can see originally your intentions were meant well and thankfully your friend called you. When people live in doubt there is a tendency to get stuck. There’s that nattering doubting Thomas who wants to confuse you and try to take care of you. When you can get rid of that chatter, you end up listening and trusting the real you that knows. Not just thinks it knows, but knows. There is peace, there is calm, there is truth in that space. When you can get there, the answer is clear.

    Sue Bock

    • letsgrowleaders

      Sue thanks so much for your insights and sharing the link to your blog. Ahhh, yes, the peace that comes with a settled heart. I wish more of that for all of us.

      • sue bock

        Karin you are welcome. I wish more of us had that settled heart as well. I believe that’s what many of us are trying to accomplish here.

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