Home > Leadership, The Monday Musings Column, What I do > avoiding the swings and the roundabouts and getting things done

avoiding the swings and the roundabouts and getting things done

I was discussing here the other week how business goes round in circles; the pendulum swings from one way of working to another and back again, and I argued that we needed to be less reactive. It’s a question of balance.

Conversations arising from that blog suggested that I was against radical change, but I’m not when it is necessary. If you have to swerve to avoid someone then it makes sense to do so rather that endure a painful collision. However, I would ask the question, why did you not see them coming earlier?

This is getting to the heart of running any operation, and those of us in #facilitiesmanagement know the issue only too well. We are often having to fire fight, and most of us in the business will have seen times when we were so busy quelling the flames that we didn’t have time to stop them starting.

One of the things that I’m passionate about in any job I take on is giving myself time to be able to do things properly. Anticipation is really 90% experience allowing you to expect the unexpected. You also develop your own toolkit of things that allow you handle things quickly when the need arises to stop matters getting out of hand.

Being able to anticipate is also a product of reading the situation and spotting the possibility of a problem and preparing for it, taking remedial action. “Perfect planning prevents p**s poor performance” as one of my team used to put it, and that really summed it up for our team. Yes we had our fair share of panics in the early days, but we worked on them, thought about them, talked about them and would listen to any idea, no matter how daft it might have sounded at the time.

Over the first year we had got most of the seasonal issues better planned and, no matter how well our solutions worked we would always review them because sometimes they were too good and we could get the right results with less effort and/or cost. Sure there were times when we got it wrong as well (I used to tell them that if we were perfect we’d be running FM beyond the pearly gates), but getting it wrong teaches you far more that getting it right.

Having the drains up in a non threatening way I also covered recently. Building a team where people can speak frankly requires a tremendous trust in each other. It isn’t the easiest thing to achieve, and you can lose it in an instant if you’re not strong enough as a leader, but when you have it the team can, and will, fly. Team spirit is another major factor in being able to anticipate problems and head them off at the pass. The team will be watching each other’s backs and playing for the good of the team rather than for themselves.

I’ve used the FM environment here to illustrate the point, but it applies just as much across the whole business spectrum. A fired up and motivated team will have the bases covered and negate the violent swerves because they will see things coming. A business in this shape is not going to get caught up in the pendulum swings because they don’t need to. They can make and cope with the fine adjustments to strategy by deployment of the right tactics to achieve objectives.

The only circles you will find a team like this going round are of the Plan, Do and Review kind as they constantly improve their performance.

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