Whilst on the way to the station this morning I practically slid down a path of mushy leaves following a wet and windy night. Hardly a square centimetre of tarmac was visible on the pavement. “Time to rake the back garden and bag up all the leaves” was the natural thought which came to mind.
6th November. 6th November! Is this late for the leaves to be coming off the trees? This natural phenomenon that happens each year as part of natures wonderful rhythm appears to be happening rather late this year to me. This autumn event is one I typically associate with late September or October even, but here we are in November. I have even had a BBQ this month and I don’t ever recall that in my whole life!
And yet in business how many times do we do something at a certain time of year because either that’s when we always do it and/or that’s when we planned to do it? How often do we have a cycle briefing meeting in September? Launch our new campaign in July? Hold our Ad’ Boards in February? Yes, there may well be some rationale for these things but how much are we connected to our internal and external customers to know whether now is the right time? “Have the leaves fallen off the tree yet?”
I guess that’s one of the differences between management and leadership. Management is about delivering the plan with excellence, rigour and precision whereas leadership should always, ALWAYS be asking “why?” After all:
“there is nothing more futile doing something well that should not be done at all!”
As we approach the final furlong of our calendar year, I encourage you all to STOP for a few minutes, let your brain noise settle, (maybe take yourself off for a walk to kick the leaves!!) and ask yourself these questions:-
- What am I planning to do?
- What should I be doing?
- Why now?
and once you are clear, then communicate this and set about these activities with great focus and vigour.
“THE LEAVES HAVE FALLEN. IT’S TIME TO RAKE!”