The other day I was thinking about times in my life when I had come up with the greatest responses ever. The problem was they were never sent. I came up with them hours, days, or sometimes weeks after the fact. I am always amazed at the power (and timing) of the subconscious mind. Sometimes it is right there, covering for you in the best way, and sometimes (often) it is not.
As leaders, we are often not afforded the same leeway that others are. Just look at the news – daily the mistakes of leaders are shoved in our faces, often with an unhealthy side dish of the agenda of whoever is airing the story. In this day and age it can be hard to catch a break, especially with the public.
What are we to do? How can we provide ourselves a measure of insurance or a buffer?
We can utilize our ability to plan.
I realize that frequently it feels like there is never enough time to plan, much less try to accomplish everything else we are responsible for. For some inspiration, check out this article on buying time and how it can lead to greater life satisfaction (Inc Magazine). As leaders we need to make the time for what is most important. It’s easy to be busy, but can be hard to be effective.
Here are a couple ways to keep improving your approach to anything:
Well in advance of anything of importance – a key meeting, family event, business trip, etc. – time block what you think is adequate to plan for the best version of the event.
As you brainstorm, write down ideas, questions, and thoughts that come to mind.
Use that information to take action to improve the event coming up.
Regardless of how well something went, there is always room for improvement.
Block adequate time after an important event to reflect on how things went.
Again, write down thoughts, ideas, and questions that come to mind and make sure to review them regularly. Especially before the next impactful event.
For more leadership insight you can check out the Leadership Legion podcast and find more on the Protagonist Blog. If you’re feeling stuck or disheartened, drop the Protagonist Team a note to see how we can help you here.