- They have a plan. Every leader takes plan development as a core function in their daily deliverables. The plan is the number one tool leaders use to record success in their daily activities.
A plan is a document that states what is to be done by who, when, where and resources required. The strategy of realizing the plan deals with its implementation. Many leaders have weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual plan that clearly states their objectives, target and who does what.
The first request a leader should make from their team is to ask where is the plan for this activity? Planning is a serious business and covers a wide range of activities. To build a house, you need a plan; same applies to managing a project, program, campaigns or research. Your plan helps you measure your success or failure rate and provide diagnostic insight on why these are so.
- They have a discipline to follow and implement the plan. If you must succeed as a leader, developing a plan is important but much more is following the plan. To implement a plan requires a lot of discipline, being methodical, sticking to rules and constantly measuring and evaluating what is being done, to detect variations.
Leaders are always faced with the challenge of the choice of what is the most problematic issue– is it a good plan or the execution of the plan. In a webinar conducted by Dick Ruhe in 2013, 700 participants with various organizational experience were surveyed and asked to identify where they saw initiatives ending up in their organizations.
Based on the responses of 375 of the participants, the research showed that a bad plan with good execution happens 13% of the time while a good plan with good execution only happen 4% of the time. On the other hand, a bad plan with bad execution happens 8% of the time while a good plan with bad execution happens 74% of the time. This means the biggest challenge is nor plan drafting but its implementation
- They are smart. Smartness is a great attribute of success in leaders. It is that ability that helps a leader to think creatively, to be solution oriented, be nosey, to identify opportunities and make a hit while others are still indecisive. It is that element of speed, surprise, dogged move towards a target, before everyone realizes it. Being smart means the leader can see what others don’t see, make a move before others do and hit the target to the chagrin of others. It is the ability to envision things with bull eye and achieve a target faster than anyone else.