Clear the way and find the critical path

Uncategorized Feb 08, 2018

I spent Christmas in Tonga with my parents, grandparents and extended family. My parents moved to Tonga last October and rebuilt one of the houses on the property. The problem was, it wasn't finished when we got there.


This created several challenges for the holiday, but one particular incident sums it up for me. On Christmas morning, we realised we’d need cover from the sun and heat. My mum suggested we chop down some coconut leaves and lay them on the frame to provide shade. As you can see from the photo, the effect was stunning and provided unexpected ambience and tranquility to our Christmas.


When reality doesn't live up to expectations, it can be hard. However, it forces you to distil very quickly what’s important, and what’s ‘nice to have’. This is at the core to crunch time. Our innate tendency is often to dot all the 'i's' and cross all the 't's'. This just isn't possible during crunch time.


We need to know what counts.


Are you clear about what’s important and what’s not during your crunch times?


• Be realistic and manage your own expectations. We’re our own worst critic and have high expectations of our teams and ourselves. Pick your battles and focus on the critical path.

• Create clarity with your stakeholders and teams by sharing your expectations with them. Clarity provides certainty in a time when there may be lots of uncertainty. Certainty does wonders for trust and performance.

• Realise that each crunch time is an opportunity to experience something new and potentially, great. So approach crunch times with a grin, not a groan. This makes you better.


We were hoping to arrive to a beautiful new holiday house - but it wasn’t finished.

We needed shade - we got it…in the form of these coconut leaves. It was better than any shade we could have imagined.[1]


About Alena: Alena works with leaders and their teams to connect technical and leadership skills so they can deliver to deadline without killing their people. She is a mentor, trainer, facilitator and coach. Contact her today on [email protected]

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[1]The roof in Tonga was a sensory delight that was intended to be a band-aid solution. The ‘proper’ roof is now on (which is a good thing - they had 150mm of rain last Sunday), but I’ve told my parents they need to figure out how to make the coconut leaves a permanent feature of their house![endif]


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