The Secret Evil Plan

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Let’s start with the pain point. What do you do in a staff meeting?

Do you always leave the staff meeting in a great mood? Everyone on your team is doing things that support and implement the strategy and the group dynamic helps solve any problems that arise. Does your staff meeting give you that jazzed feeling?

If not, perhaps there’s a broken link.

Your value as the leader is that you have the entire strategy in your head – the secret evil plan. You see the steps. You see the connections. You see the path.

You must share this view. Why would you keep this a secret? Are you trying to see if others get it? I see leaders do this all the time unfortunately.

Because you can see the path you also can see when staff members are distracted from the path. For me it’s an anxious feeling. I can feel that something is off. It’s not always something drastic. Someone may be giving a mundane status report and I get that feeling.

That feeling is important. I know that if I ignore that feeling it will grow and usually come out later in a not so positive way. See the ‘Who knows your secret evil plan, aka strategy?’ post about how this can cycle out of control.

You have a deep understanding of what you need to do to get your agenda moving through the organization. It comes naturally to you. However, if you’re feeling all alone in this journey and frustrated that the team isn’t helping, the likely cause is that they just don’t understand the underlying plan as well as you do.

The ultimate solution is a process we use called Executive Leadership Forum which works as an adjunct to your normal staff meeting. Here are some perspectives for you to think about:

Expand the bullet points. When presenting the strategy and goals, go beyond the bullets. Explain the background. It doesn’t go without saying. Explain what you were thinking. What didn’t you put in the presentation? Show how your brain works. People want to know this.

Talk scenarios. In order to get the behaviors you want, explore the scenarios that everyone will encounter and work through how to act and react in those likely situations. This helps articulate your direction in a very explicit way. When he says…, you say… This gets x point across, which sets up y discussion, which is tied to our abc initiative.

Casual Conversations. The learning that occurs in more casual conversations is crucial to making the consistent and right decisions when the boss isn’t around. It’s all about the conversations. A very important tool you shouldn’t ignore.

Think being involved rather than being aloof as a leader.

The purpose of a staff meeting is to say as little about a point so that you can move to the next point and keep the meeting going. That’s valid. I think the act of the staff meeting causes us to ignore that feeling we talked about.

So, you need to go deeper. It’s OK to halt the staff meeting and go deeper. It’s necessary though to separately have a process in place (like Executive Leadership Forum) which is designed to go deeper.

To do this week: Be aware of the feeling we discussed. How do you handle it? Do you address it immediately? Later? Do you actually follow-up?

Let me know how it’s goes. Click the “comments” box below to participate in an on-going discussion via LinkedIn.

Jim Canterucci

I don't know everything. But I want to. The focus of our firm, Transition Management Advisors, is to develop leadership capabilities to create a championship culture, generate innovation, and successfully lead the resulting changes.

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On October 10, 2018
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