I arrived at the field yesterday and asked my brother-in-law what the wheat was testing. The moisture content of “dry” wheat is 14%. Farmers endeavor to get the crop off dry. When grain is harvested at a higher moisture content it negatively impacts the price that farmers can receive for their grain. If the moisture content is too high it needs to be dried before it can be sold. It is expensive and labor intensive to dry wheat. A test sample is taken before the harvest activities begin. If the moisture content is too high the crop is left to dry in the field.

“What’s the wheat testing?”


“October 25”

Translation: It doesn’t matter how high the moisture content is we are not going to wait for it to dry down any further because the harvest window is closing very fast. At the beginning of the harvest season there is a decision making process about when to harvest – take the crop off too early with high moisture content and you have to absorb additional costs and take less money – but wait too long and you might end up not being able to harvest it at all.

Leaders face this type of dilemma in many different scenarios. Here are a few examples:

Example 1

Promote an up and coming leader too soon and he/she may not have the required experience and skill set to navigate the additional responsibilities. Wait too long and the up and coming talent may be up and out of the organization.

Example 2

Move ahead with a re-organization too soon and risk costly integration problems. Wait too long to adapt to changing conditions and get left in the dust by the competition.

Example 3

Engage employees and governance bodies too soon in a new initiative and risk low buy-in resulting from too little information. Wait too long and engagement levels and support are low because it’s already been decided.

How can a leader navigate these type of timing dilemma?

What factors need to be considered in the decision making process?

What is the October 25 wheat equivalent of a current decision you are up against?

Perhaps it is GO TIME!