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Leaders Must Be Prepared

By Joey Havens

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I wish I could say my self-reflection was always a result of careful planning and prioritization.  But that’s just not true. Life has too many surprises – good and bad.  So, this blog is the result of a moment of opportunity that I was not expecting or even really wanting.  Today’s reflection is the result of being stranded on the runway in D.C. on a crowded airplane that is already 45 minutes late taking off. I might also mention that my connection in Atlanta is already very tight, so this could result in lots of additional reflection time.  For some reason, being prepared is on my mind.  In full disclosure, this has always been a pet peeve of mine. I believe in being prepared for whatever my commitments are, including team meetings, client meetings, presentations, office visits, coaching sessions, etc.  Out of respect for those I serve, I should take the extra few minutes to be prepared for something that is my responsibility. 

In most cases, it only takes a few focused moments to prepare to be a little better than if we had not taken the time.  Although this is self-serving in that it benefits us so much, it also benefits everyone we interact with and demonstrates that we care about their success. This caring and respect is how we extend our sense of belonging to each other. Everyone’s role is important to our team success and our clients’ success. 

Too often, I let my schedule begin to run me and I lose that edge of being fully prepared. Sometimes, as I run from meeting to meeting, I lose track of what the next meeting is even about.  Although I may have a “senior moment” here and there, very seldom have I not read, researched or reflected on the objectives of the meeting. One of the most valuable lessons I have learned from not being prepared at a meeting is that when I know I will have a day of very little time between meetings and projects, I prepare for each meeting a day or two ahead of time, where I read or research all of the relevant materials.  

Today is moving faster than yesterday. Change in how we work and live is happening at warp speed.  Being prepared is the only way to remain relevant. As a leader, you set the tone for your team. Put in the time to be prepared.

By the way, I made my connection in Atlanta and I hope I made a connection with you so that we can both be even better as we strive to be prepared.