Spam in leadership

This blog has become the target of spam artists who seem to feel it’s their right to inflict their brand of internet “marketing” on the unsuspecting masses. Fortunately this is a moderated blog so I can eliminate the spam before it’s published. The one bright side of spam intrusion is it prompted me to look at the concept of “spam leaders” in business.

Do you know of any leaders who toss out directions or advise with the same focus and accuracy as our spammers?

Unfortunately I’ve met too many leaders who “spam” their offices with mindless directions, advise, opinions and self-important pronouncements. None of which increase productivity or encourage empowerment of the rest of the office.

So, are you a leadership spammer? I certainly hope not. From my perspective the most effective way to ensure you aren’t viewed as spam is to do three little things: plan, communicate and follow-up.

In my presentations and when consulting I prod clients to spend time planning before doing anything else. I’ve had one frontline leader say, “But Garth, you don’t understand. We don’t have time to plan around here … but we do have time to do it over again tomorrow.” He had a smile on his face to suggest that he was joking, but planning wasn’t one of his leadership skills.

Think about it for a minute. If you stopped for 30-seconds to plan what you’re going to say to a boss, client or colleague, how much time would save? No confusion in what you wanted or what you expected. No other person wondering what you really meant. No repeat of a task or project. I’ve heard estimates that 1/3 to 2/3rds of what done in offices every day is redo. Even if it’s only 10%, that still a huge saving of time over a year and that time translates into money.

While it’s true that planning takes time, simple logic tells us it saves more time that it uses. So, what tools do you use to help you plan? I use Outlook to keep me on track and I supplement that with a paper daytimer for those times when my computer isn’t around. In the past few years I’ve been more consistent in my planning and have forced myself to stick to each plan, or justify to myself why I should change. Guess what, I’ve noticed a marked increase in my productivity and effectiveness.

As to the other two elements of my productivity trio – communication and follow-up – more on that in my next post.