Imagine this: it’s Tuesday night and you’re making dinner – spaghetti and a salad. No big deal.
You take the sauce out of the freezer (you’re Italian. There’s no way you’re opening a jar). You meant to take it out in the morning to thaw, but forgot till right now.
You decide you will take the chance on microwaving plastic because your family is really looking forward to pasta. So you pop it in for just a few minutes then plunk it in a pot to finish heating.
Okay, onto the next thing…
You boil the water and go to the cabinet…there’s 1/2 a box of spaghetti left. Argh! Decision – make something else, order takeout, or go to the store?
You already started defrosting the sauce and your family is counting on spaghetti so you turn off the stove, hop in the car, and head to the store. They don’t have your favorite brand. Another decision – different type of pasta, another brand, or scrap it and head home empty handed?
You decide call your spouse because they’ll have a strong opinion. They want another brand… you stay on the phone with them while you figure it out (you’re not taking a chance the 2nd brand will be out of spaghetti!).
You head home, then start the water boiling again and open the refrigerator. You take out the salad ingredients but…you’re out of cucumbers. @#$%^! You were just at the store!
This time you make the executive decision: forget the cucumbers. You’ll live without them.
In the end, you got dinner on the table and everyone is happy…sort of: it’s not the brand of pasta they were expecting and your daughter loves cucumbers. Oh, and all those little mishaps meant dinner was over an hour late and that messed up the rest of your evening plans.
What’s the moral of the story?
A LITTLE PLANNING GOES A LONG WAY.
I don’t mean you need to plan a week of dinners every Sunday (if you can, kudos – I’ve never had that skill). But maybe the night before would have been enough. You’d have taken the sauce out to thaw and checked your ingredients… you could have planned to go to the store earlier or picked something else for dinner before your family was counting on pasta.
Let’s turn this around now and talk about leading your team.
Teams – like dinner – run a lot smoother with a bit of planning and organization.
Do you make sure they have the tools they need to be efficient…and to succeed? Are you thinking beyond “this meal” and helping plan their workload so they don’t get crushed next week?
If you’re in charge of a team, you can make the difference between on-time & efficient and late & stressed. So please – take a few minutes to think things through in advance before plowing ahead.
And…ummm…sorry about the craving for Italian tonight! 😉