Who Says Leadership is the Result of Planning?

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When THEY Look Good, YOU Look Better!

This week, something simply amazing happened when I came down with bronchitis, lost my voice, and was unable to attend (under a doctor’s orders) a trade show my company had paid a LOT of money for us to attend. My team stepped up.

For years, I have been teaching fundamental leadership tools to business people around the world as a corporate trainer.  Even before that, I had already read and adopted a number of fundamentals written up in David Allen’s best-selling phenomenon Getting Things Done. (Seriously, Google “GTD” and you’ll think you have found a “secret productivity cult”.)  I guess I have always been a bit of the “everything has a place” kind of person.

Here’s the breakdown:

I have a folder for everything (Thank you, GTD!).  When I walked out of the office on noon Monday to go to a maternity appointment with my wife, I fully expected to be back Tuesday morning at 7:15AM to load up and head down to the George R Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston to set up our booth.  Just to be safe, I pulled that folder from the stack, left it conspicuously on my desk, and checked in with our Sales Manager to let him know where all of the collateral had been stockpiled for the event.

My wife and I went to her appointment, learned the baby is coming along nicely, and on the way home…completely lost my voice.  Uh, oh.  I had my wife call our Sales Manager to give him a heads up, and confirm some last minute items.  He understood.  The next morning, I was a no-go.

Just about the time the exhibition floor was slated to open…I received a text message with a picture of our booth all set up and ready to go.  By the end of the day, I’d received another message that one of our team members stepped up to help out, and the day went great.  In fact, if I was feeling good enough to come in the next day, I was told to head on to the office…as they had the event “handled”.  Where I have seen so many people panic over a message like that, I just sighed in relief.  All was right.

If you believe whole-heartedly that YOU absolutely MUST be there to make things happen positively for your team, you don’t have a team that communicates very well.  If your team functions just fine without you, your leadership is working.  By making sure everything was done ahead of time, my presence was less necessary!  Plan your work. Work your plan.  Fundamentals matter.  Now, go get to work!  The better you make THEM look, the better off YOU look.

p.s.  I wrote this during the second day of that trade show while working from home.  Yep, I had even had enough forethought to pack the power cord for my laptop.  It’s been one of my most PRODUCTIVE days in WEEKS! Tomorrow, it’s back into the plant….

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