Kool Derby

It’s the middle of the week, and you can hardly wait for the back-end of the week. You had the usual issues on Monday and put out some fires on Tuesday. Thursday is right around the corner, and you are ready to put it on cruise control.

Successful leaders think a little differently. Each day of the week is important, and gliding into the weekend is not an option. When they are not executing plans, they are making sure that problems are addressed quickly. In essence, they understand the importance of taking corrective action when a misalignment takes place.

Wednesday is an important day for proactive leaders. At this point in the week, they still have time to get the critical work done. You will not hear the following from a go-getter: “Let’s do the best we can. We can always push it to next week.” That is a no-no for successful leaders. If the work is due this week, they will do whatever possible to deliver on what is promised.

You will find top-notch leaders doing the following on any given Wednesday:

#1: Review the plan created on Monday to ensure they are on track.

In project management, we call the initial plan a baseline. In other words, you want to know what you are expected to deliver during the week. If the goal is to conduct 20 interviews with key customers regarding their perceptions of the quality of tech support provided, these leaders will make sure the work is on track.

The proactive leader will meet with the core team to identify the progress. By becoming engaged in the process, the leader collects valuable information to provide ample time to take corrective action when necessary. Waiting even just one day to gather this time-sensitive feedback may result in problems that escalate beyond the leader’s department, causing harm to the entire organization.

#2: Interact with team members to provide support where necessary.

In MBA school, students learn an important leadership concept called Management by Wandering Around. A successful leader is on the floor as much as possible. It’s important to know that this person is not rolling up her sleeves and doing the actual work. Instead, the leader is interested in learning about the obstacles that are preventing milestones from being met.

I know of many so-called leaders that sit in their comfy offices looking at report-after-report. This is akin to reviewing one’s bank account throughout the day hoping unexpected deposits are made. It’s not going to happen. It’s much better to take action instead of staring blindly at the computer screen.

#3: Keep a moving forward approach.

The recommendation here is to move forward and to avoid coasting, even worse, sliding downhill. The excellent leader is constantly looking for potential risks, and is prepared to exploit opportunities. For example, he might learn that an important resource has available time to work on a key task. Understanding the importance of this development, the leader will contact this person’s line manager to request assistance.

By staying focused on the key deliverables, you get more done. Avoid pursuing the Big Bang approach in which you are mostly concerned about impressing others. Successful leaders treat Wednesday as another important day in which the plan is executed, and just as much attention is assigned to quality control. In short, the benefits are realized incrementally.

This is not a flashy approach, but it is effective.