No matter how well trained, how well one plans, or how well meaning someone may, there is never any guarantee that his plans will work at as he intends. A leader may have nearly all the necessities of leadership, and have been educated and trained comprehensively and effectively, but if that individual lacks organization, he rarely can be nearly as effective as he should be. Effective organizations comes from a variety of actions and activities, and requires a leader to stay on top of his “game.”
1. We often speak of the need of a leader to have an effective and meaningful vision. While that is quite true, for a vision to become a reality, the leader must have a detailed plan of action. In the over thirty years that I have worked with and counseled leaders, I have witnessed many that believe they have done all they could, simply because they had this vision, and put an Action Plan down on paper. However, action plan’s become merely words if they are not organized properly.
2. An organized leader not only has the “big” ideas, but fully understands the need for details, as well as managing the details. This means not only spending the time to fully consider alternatives, back up plans, contingencies, etc., but to put this down in some organized manner, so that nothing falls through the spaces. In our technological world, this should be far easier to manage, because no longer must a leader keep a million “scraps” of paper and notes and charts, but can organize these completely bu using digital and electronic technology.
For example, if a leader uses some sort of personal data aide (PDA) such as a Blackberry, he can keep notes, schedules, follow ups, etc., right in his Blackberry, and set reminders for follow up and implementation. It is important however to fully “sync” this devise with one’s computer, so that there are both backups, and that it is also visible in programs such as Microsoft Outlook, etc. Savvy leaders always remember to also backup their Blackberry and their Computer on a regular, frequent basis.
3. True leaders plan out their course of action. This requires careful attention to details, and effectively planning the details, and who will be responsibility, as well as following up via a time line. Obviously, without attention to organization, the likelihood of forgetting or overlooking something that might end up being important and even sometimes the difference between success and failure, is greater. Again, discipline and digital aids make this doable.
4. The final part of getting “it done” is to have a preset follow up procedure. Again, this requires attention both to detail, and the discipline to be effectively organized.
The best leaders want to assure that they optimize their chances to succeed. While I have heard many individuals in leadership refer to this as “micromanagement,” I insist that managing details in an organized manner is effective management, and would only be micromanagement if a leader continued to manage “small” details after he organized and was satisfied in the ability and willingness of someone he delegated a task to, to follow it through completely and effectively. Effective leaders must never make excuses, but rather put themselves in the best situation for success!