I’ve found myself using these words a lot lately. In spite of… In spite of the leadership decision. In spite of the person screwing up. In spite of a consultant’s blunder. In spite of…
So much of the role of the emerging leader is to get things done for the organization in spite of the road blocks that appear. No excuses. Just get it done in spite of whatever happened. This is the crux of the 90/10 – 60/40 concept we teach at the core of our leadership principles.
Here are a couple steps when an in spite of…opportunity presents itself.
Get yourself straight – Usually when something bad happens it effects you in an emotional way. The key is to reconcile and recover quickly so you can lead. Figure it out. That’s why you get the big bucks. Talk to your mentor, share a venting beer session with a trusted colleague, have your spouse talk you down. Whatever it takes. This is critical because step 2 is the most important and you can’t afford to contribute to the problem.
Help your people deal with it – What you can’t afford is paralysis. The team still needs to perform, in spite of… Communicate, communicate, communicate. Talk about what may have happened and why, as well as what it means to the future but be sure to end with, SO WHAT! Get people reconciled quickly. You know about Change Breakthrough Analysis. Use it.
No one lets you use excuses, even valid ones, when evaluating your performance (usually when you’re not in the room). They just look at results. It’s unlikely they’re going to remember things that surrounded the results but rather just the results and the flavor of the results. This is enormously unfair but it is reality.
Your evaluators likely won’t say things like, “yes the project didn’t run smoothly but remember the VP of Whatever made her do backflips for no reason and hung her out to dry.” Or, “the software vendor representative was a real jerk and never made any deliverables, so we should give Bob the benefit of the doubt.” Rather leaders are evaluated on the results they achieve, “in spite of” the barriers encountered.
Yes, of course, sometime soon, manage up and see if you can prevent the problem from happening again, check your career plan, etc. But act quickly with a single-mindedness to the success of your initiative and your people, in spite of…
Call if you want to whine for a few minutes then we can work out a plan for you to be successful, in spite of… Don’t worry, I’ve heard it all. I can handle it. 😉
Photo credit: Niklas Hellerstedt