Derail or Move Forward?

Think back to the last time when a huge hindrance got in your way while you still needed to deal with business as usual. Did you let it derail you or did you work around it and move forward?

Leaders need to be agile when it comes to working around big obstacles. You will feel more confident when you proactively handle them. You will also influence your staff by how you manage them. I’ve seen too many situations where leaders freeze when faced with something big and unexpected, and it results in lower productivity for everyone for weeks to follow.

One approach is to create a mini strategic plan. First, begin with the end in mind: what is the result you want to achieve? Depending on how much time will be involved with managing it, you may need to revise your ongoing goals to accommodate.

Second, identify what resources you need to accomplish the result. How can your employees help? Are other resources available elsewhere in your organization? Do you need to bring in resources from the outside? Knowing who and what you need to get to the goal is vital to your planning process.

Third, working backwards from your desired end, outline how you will allocate these resources in the weeks ahead. Chances are that the need isn’t linear, so work around the milestones and deadlines that occur in the normal course of business.

Finally, you need to manage the process. Putting a plan in place doesn’t have the desired impact if you set it up and expect it to manage itself.

This mini-planning process is relatively simple, but the execution isn’t necessarily easy. You’ll be relying on your team (and possibly outsider contractors) to do more work than usual. And this is less likely to happen if you aren’t visibly leading the charge.

As you manage the process, be mindful of morale. Do what you can to keep it high, so that a reasonable level of energy and motivation is maintained. And make sure you thank people for going the extra mile. The gesture of recognition is always important (and often neglected).

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