Being Prepared

Remember the Boy Scout motto, “Be prepared”? Are you? Is your team?

How do you handle it when someone on your team is unprepared for a meeting or a presentation? This can happen as innocently as an honest oversight or it can be because the person intentionally let it slide. People who feel entitled do the latter, that is, they are unconcerned about their contribution to the overall team.

When you’re not prepared, you can derail an initiative just because you didn’t do your job. Even worst is the implication that you don’t respect to your co-workers, by signalling its lack of importance.

This behavior isn’t confined to lower level employees. I recently attended a meeting with three CEOs from different companies. The person who called the meeting, a high level CEO, had not done his homework ahead of time and as a result the meeting was essentially a waste of time and resources from the first five minutes. Although I resisted the urge, I was ready to walk out and not waste my time.

Leaders need to be mindful of their team members’ behavior so that initiatives are not damaged as a result of one person’s casual neglect. Of course, you shouldn’t need to do this, but one safety net might be to speak with the participants ahead of time to make sure they are prepared.

You’d think that you shouldn’t have to do this with senior people, but as you can see by my example above, this problem permeates title and position. Set your own example and expect it from your team.

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