After more than three decades in the leadership planning and training industry, I have often been accused of emphasizing planning to too large an extent.
I am a big believer in contingency and backup plans, and then backups for the backups! After I helped negotiate and organize a conference, the hotel staff presented me, as a thank you, a flask inscribed, "The Ultimate Backup Plan.
" Without comprehensive planning, the probability of a successful result is significantly reduced.
Confucius said, "Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure.
" It is indeed unfortunate that many individuals who ascend to leadership positions appear to be either unwilling or unable to grasp this concept of the need to plan.
Leaders still run meeting without creating agendas, and the result of that is almost always wasting time, inefficient, overlooking essential details, and less than optimum accomplishments.
These individuals invariably hide behind the veil of "delegation," emphasizing that their "leadership style" is to delegate and trust others to do their job.
While in an ideal world that may be true, most situations are not ideal.
Although delegating responsibility is often prudent (as long as there are controls and checks and balances in place, as well as a review process) in the corporate world, more times than not I have witnessed "breakdowns" when delegation is the mode of "leadership" in the volunteer "world.
" That is because in companies, items are ideally delegated to skilled and trained workers, whose job it is to accomplish particular tasks.
They are held responsible for getting the job done.
Since volunteers serve voluntarily, and almost always have other responsibilities in their "real world," it is far more difficult as well as risky to depend on delegating to volunteers.
Although generally well meaning, many (if not most) volunteers are often insufficiently trained for the task, and thus when a task is delegated to them, an effective leader must understand that he still needs to review progress on a regular basis.
This often creates personality and attitudinal difficulties, with things such as resentments and blame often replacing achievement and thanks.
Effective leaders always begin with something they wish or feel needs to be achieved.
This may or may not encompass their vision for the organization, but must be goal oriented.
They must then analyze various alternative methods, and create priorities.
From that, they must create "Plan A," Backup Plan B," "Plan C," etc.
In doing this, they must create a short term, intermediate term, and long term strategic plan, with accompanying action plans for the implementation.
A firm time line, and review schedule should be included as well.
Finally, responsibilities should be assigned, and oversight created.
Organized leaders create one other form of preparation that I refer to as the "What if?" scenario.
They must always remain positive toward achieving their initial plan, while being prepared for contingencies with back up plans.
This last detail is often the difference between an organizational disaster and a huge success!