Lead with vision. Lead with passion. Lead with relationships.
Lead with… SCHEDULE? Yes – lead with a calendar! A leader always asks, “What are the things that ONLY I can do.” Setting and communicating a schedule for weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual events is something that only the leader can do. When my leader calls last minute meetings and never speaks about specific dates 6 months in advance then I conclude that he does not know where he is going and does not care about my productivity. Scheduling may seem like an unimportant delegatable detail, but the leader must take responsibility because leading with a calendar forces you to dream, decide, communicate and care for your team.
1. Imagine a 36-month future
As the leader, you need to dream about where your enterprise will be 24-36 months from today. Imagine growth, capture opportunities and see obstacles that are barely on the horizon. Taking one day every month to live in the 36-month future will help you to lead every day.
2. Own the master calendar
The calendar needs to be on your computer or your assistant’s computer. You cannot be dependent on a team member. You need to be able to update it anytime, anywhere and communicate it automatically with your team. There are many group access calendar options. Some of your team members are not as organized as you are; you need to do your part to communicate and then you will have a “coaching moment” when they miss a meeting.
3. Determine the annual schedule
Every organization and enterprise has an annual calendar that is driven by holidays, seasons, rhythms, conferences and strategies. Even if you don’t know the exact date, you know that you need to have a week of planning during the first week of August. Put it in your calendar NOW even though it is 15 months away.
4. Determine the monthly and annual schedules
During your annual or semi-annual planning meetings, establish these schedules. Keep them updated in the master calendar for 6 months in advance at all times.
5. Have a calendar time during EVERY meeting
It may seem like overkill, but take a few minutes for the calendar during every meeting with your team. During your daily 5-minute stand-up huddle, remind them about special events or variations during the next two weeks. During your weekly staff meeting, detail the calendar for the next two weeks and identify the dates for the next 4-6 weeks. During your quarterly all-day meetings, walk through the next 12 months so that your team can see and feel your vision for the future.
6. Enjoy the Benefits
You team will know that you are living in the future and they will know that you value their time. You will get squatter’s rights on the best dates, rooms, reservations and you will never hear – “I planned to be on vacation that week.” Your team will love you when you cancel scheduled events instead of adding surprises at the last minute.
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