July 19, 2006
Planning, integrity linked at hip
You talk a great deal about how sound planning reflects
integrity. Do you believe taking things as they come along
and simply reacting lacks integrity?
Yes, way too often! Abdicating responsibility for substantive
planning and timely preparation often puts valuable resources
at risk, including time, energy, raw materials, individuals
and teams. Inadequate planning is almost never constructive.
Someone said that 99 percent of the time surprises are
not good news - at least in business.
Certain personality types love spontaneity because it
allows them to leverage their creative problem-solving
prowess to provide last-minute miracles, appearing
- time after time - to have saved the day.
Even though proper planning would have discounted their
latest dramatic accomplishment, they appear reluctant
to drink the glory. But, they do.
Bosses, spouses, parents, children, friends, board members,
politicians, social workers and others on life's path
know that "a firefighting society breeds
Thriving on recognition and rewards, these self-proclaimed
super heroes do whatever it takes to secure recognition
with their grand entrances, having sanctioned the very "fire" they can't wait to smother.
Children learn early that if they do not properly prepare
(homework, managing money, etc.) then one or both parents
will bail them out. Co-dependent behaviors thrive from
the mutual benefits of poor planning: the need to be
needed, allowing others to shrug responsibilities so
that someone can maintain manipulative "last-minute" control.
Thankfully, integrity-centered leadership offers a constructive
- Differentiate work from play, choosing to plan for
work, while enjoying play.
- Communicate planning limitations and solicit expertise
- Implement according to mutually-accepted standards,
in a timely way.
- Resist the "firefighting" mentality by
insisting on pro-active collaboration.
- Challenge "arsonists" who encourage emergencies,
suggesting that their methods are more often self-serving
than organizationally productive.
- Recognize spontaneity as a legitimate source for
happiness and celebration that bring value through
creativity and integrity-centered relationships.
Remember, however, that being open to opportunities
is not the same as ignoring leadership-planning responsibilities
at home, work and community.
Leadership integrity comes with a plan that remains open