The VPM Blog

X + Y = Startu(P)

Posted by Don Crow on Jun 6, 2012 5:00:50 AM

With this week’s article, we’re now 75% complete with TIPS. For those of you joining us now, TIPS is an acronym for Leaders:

  • T is for Talk
  • I is for Inform
  • P is for (be) Predictable, and
  • S is for (be) Sensitive

We got good feedback from the first, “T is for Talk” but no one stepped out to discuss, “I is for Inform,” with us. I guess the Information was so good it answered all their questions up front?

Not one to take the lack of feedback as a negative, I’m happy to bring you this week’s, “P is for (be) Predictable.”

We have extremely fluid and unpredictable schedules at Verge Pipe Media. Combine the work of a digital agency creating online ad campaigns and mobile apps for clients, AND launching a startup, social networking + gamification app for the golfing world in Golf Joust and you could have an equation that equals planning disaster.

Honestly, some days it is exactly that – a disaster. Others it is a disaster waiting to happen, and then others, we tie it all together neatly.

Through it all though, the expectation of myself and the other formal leaders on the team is to be Predictable. Weather the storm, be the visible and vocal leader amidst the swirl, be stalwart in the face of certain danger!

Okay, maybe I’m taking some creative license there, but the point is….we as leaders, have a lot of folks looking to us to help them organize their personal, professional and at times, emotional well-being.

Leaders have to be Predictable in order to meet that challenge. We must be able to tell the junior employee when they’re going home, when they’re working late or when they’re giving up a weekend for travel or a project. Your employees aren’t task oriented right out of the gates. The way they learn that behavior is having a committed and Predictable leadership team who communicates with them and keeps them informed. Leaders demonstrate they are task oriented, and plan appropriately for what’s needed to complete the task.

They then communicate those needs to the employees and fill in the gap.

“We need help to close out this project – that means many of us will be working late every night next week and some of us will be here on Saturday.”

As tough as that may sound, it is better than this:

“No, you can’t leave until you finish those designs. I understand you have prior obligations, but the client wants this now. And besides, you weren’t here on Saturday like I was.”

Poor planning on the Leader’s part prompted the last discussion to take place at 4:00 pm on a Wednesday. Not having a grasp on all the work taking place forced this leader to activate their fall-back plan and that is to work the employees late with little to no notice. Not to mention, in this example the leader is surely building resentment of the client and the organization.

That’s unfair and punished the wrong people.

Now don’t get me wrong – emergency requests come in. Clients have leaders who may not plan appropriately either, or they may have extenuating circumstances which prompts a last minute grenade toss in the front door of Verge Pipe Media. I get it.

But it is my responsibility to be Predictable, take the request in and decide the best and most efficient way to direct the completion of that task without causing unnecessary drama around the office.

When sacrifices at the last minute become the exception, rather than the norm, you’ll be amazed at who steps up to fill the gap.

When employees know they have Leaders who Talk, Inform and are Predictable (not to mention next week’s topic, Sensitive), they will continually surpass your expectations.

In pedestrian terms, I keep my finger on the pulse of all the work taking place. I will ask questions and talk to the managers if I think a project or task is lingering and has the potential to become a last minute grenade toss. And when the grenades do make it through the door, I don’t go into crisis mode.

I am Predictable, and that’s an okay place to be in my Leadership notebook.

The VPM Blog

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