As leaders you are called upon to lead, to bring about change, to manage teams, resolve conflict and pursue new opportunities for growth within your organization. Being a leader is a truly humbling experience, since it teaches us a lot about ourselves. One has to learn to lead by example for as leaders its important to remember that our actions speak louder than our words. Leadership like most things in life has its own advantages and disadvantages. As a leader, you have the opportunity to experience different situations every day and experience the joys of having to make decisions that would make or break the organization, the team or the business. However the down side is that the buck eventually stops with you and you have to cop the blame when things eventually go pear shaped. Those are fortunately or unfortunately the privileges of being a leader. There are times when I am reminded about this the hard way.
I was making my way to work as usual. It was a wet morning and wet mornings in Melbourne can get real bad. The traffic slows down to a crawl, everything moves slower than usual and lines at the traffic lights can take minutes if not hours to clear. It was on such morning a few days ago that I found myself in a not very pleasant situation. I had reminded myself to take my umbrella to work however I managed to forget to grab it on my way to the car. My child usually does an excellent job reminding me of things I need to do before I get into the car however on this day she was staying at home with her mum who decided to work from home and I had the privilege of driving straight to work since I didn’t have to go into the city to drop my child off at day care.
I reached the large parking lot and the office is a good 10 minutes’ walk from the car park. With the rain beating down I tried to make a dash to the office but had to retreat back into the car when I realized that I was going to be dripping wet if I pursued the poorly devised plan. With the rain gods not showing signs of retreating I waited in the car for a good 15minutes but nothing changed. I finally decided to drive to the nearby mall, purchased an 8$ umbrella, got back to the parking lot and finally made my way to the office building. What a waste of precious morning time and all because I didn’t do my homework well. If I had only checked the weather and taken the necessary precautions.
This incident got me thinking about my actions in the past and how it influenced the outcome of situations I have been in. I started thinking about the times I found myself in a tight spot for not having done my homework well enough and for not examined at all my options well. Living in the information age we are bombarded by information from numerous sources e.g. email, cell phones, SMS, internet, conference calls etc. and combined with the numerous meetings one has to attend on a daily basis our productivity levels tend to drop drastically. I find myself working procrastinating and putting things off until later in the day when no one is around and when I finally have the peace of mind to get things done.
Planning your day before you start is key to get your tasks completed on time. Doing your homework at the start of the day for all the meetings that you need to attend and all the presentations that need to get delivered ensures that you have the appropriate answers your audience is expecting to hear. Of course you can’t be expected to have all the answers however you can work towards ensuring you’ve doing you best. It surely pays to go in well prepared. As a leader keen on taking your team, your organization or your program to the next level it pays to do your homework, it pays to go in prepared so that you have the right answers and hopefully an upper hand over your competition.
Am keen to know:
- How do you prepare mentally for a new day
- Do you spend time contemplating about tasks that need to get done
- Do you find yourself planning out your new day before you set out for work
- Do you find yourself in situations where you felt doing your homework would have possible change the final outcome
- How do you manage to stay on top of your daily tasks given the information sprawl
- How good are you at doing your homework before you get into meetings or conversations with customers
Write in and let me know what do you do to stay on top of what’s happening in your work environment.