February 2017

No Time—Just Go!

There is never enough time to get things done. There is never enough money to resource the plan adequately. There are never enough people available to accomplish the task. Heaven forbids one takes time for self-reflection. That is crazy. The boss needed the project completed yesterday.

There is only enough time for the next competing priority.

For those of you who find you don't have enough time to drink a cup of coffee do this—STOP and reflect. Ask yourself, are you clear on what it is you are trying to accomplish? What part of the situation have you not considered? What is one more alternative to accomplishing the task; you should have three viable options, do you? Have you considered the input from your team? You are smarter collectively than singularly.

Take the time to reflect on the situation, the task at hand, before you make the assumption, there is not enough time. Getting the task done quickly is always trumped by getting it done right. In my over 30 years of leadership experience, I can safely say, taking the time to reflect and get it right is, in most cases, the quickest way to accomplishing the task.

The next pressing priority is waiting in your inbox. And there is not enough time to get it done.

"I'm Concerned..."

How often have you had a conversation that starts with "I'm concerned?" These words are a pleasant lead into a tough conversation. The salve is applied before the wound has happened.

It is ok to start with the matter at hand—"Bob, I am no longer confident in your ability to lead the team..." Get to the point up front and focus on the objective. Bob, I need to see improvement in these areas (be specific), in this time frame (give a timetable to show improvement). Failing this we will review our options for future assignment (or appropriate action).

Bob may very well be a great person. His ability to get the job done is not evident. Being concerned that he may not be up to the task leaves a door open for discussion. What you will hear, in this case, his argument why he is capable of performing and delivering a job well done.

Ladies and Gentlemen, leaders, there is power in being to the point. Focus on the actions or lack of action, not the person. In the end, all leaders must accomplish the mission/task. Your boss expects that of you as does your boss' boss expect mission accomplishment from him or her.

It is good to be concerned. It is better to be to the point.


I am often asked for leadership advice based on my Marine Corps experience for use in business. This section is providing short leadership tips you can use in becoming an Exceptional Leader. Being good on any given day is easy. Being exceptional requires daily effort. Enjoy the read.

The first Marine Corps Leadership Principle is to "know yourself, and seek self-improvement."

A leader in any organization, in any industry, should be self-aware. That is, who are you, what do you stand for, what are your values? You may fool others as to who you are but not for long. The real you always comes shining through and at the least opportune time for some leaders.

Go through this exercise; write down your top ten values, what you stand for. Cut the list to five and define what each value means to you. Now, cut the list to three, redefine them if you must. Now live those top three—Self-Regulate.

Be the person you say you are. Regulate your actions or one day your boss will regulate them for you.

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