Why clarity is about respect

I believe our reality is full of uncertainty and ambiguity. Crunch times quite often are characterised by their uncertain or ambiguous nature. What will the result be? Will we get the answer we want? What happens if the results are poor? What will they think of me? What will that mean for my job or my bonus?


Dealing with uncertainty is a leadership imperative. Providing certainty is equally so.


Imagine the following scenario happening in your favourite sports team:


  • Daniel has been approached by his coach, to perform the role of captain. The existing captain, Ed, is away injured during this time, and is not part of this conversation.

  • The role of captain involves leading the entire team.

  • The coach sends an email to rival teams, and governing sports associations letting them know that Daniel will be co-captain from now on and all captain related correspondence should go to him. No other information about this change is communicated by the coach.

  • Daniel...

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Dysfunction destroys delivery during crunch times

Team dysfunction is not OK. Yet I have many conversations with senior leaders who observe that teams around them are ‘a little bit dysfunctional’. Consider the following impacts of dysfunction in teams:

  • the additional meetings held because decisions/agreements can’t be made

  • the confusion created for staff

  • the extra work created to get to agreement and decision, and to undo confusion

How much time is wasted in that process? What is the cost of that time? There is no room for dysfunction during crunch times. You need everyone on board, focused on delivering accurate results FAST. What to do? Dysfunction is caused by a number of things, but when it gets in the way of delivery, a powerful way to overcome is to call it out. Then rename it. The root cause of dysfunction is a difference of opinion. You know what this is also called? Diversity of thinking. Diversity of thought is a powerful characteristic of high performing teams. Teams that have diverse thinking...

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Judgment is our new currency

We have all felt it. The walls feel like they're caving in (ironic, because you haven't left the building for 14 hours) and you're starting to feel hot. It's crunch time.


People are generally regarded in one of the following ways when under pressure:

1. Those who make effective decisions and judgments

2. Those who take irresponsible shortcuts

3. Those who make intentionally incorrect decisions

4. Those who stick their head in the sand



When under pressure, your brain is trying to make sense of things and it's trying to do this under difficult conditions - i.e. when tired, stressed or overwhelmed. Executive thinking (the thinking required to make good decisions and judgments) occurs when your brain can interpret information in a logical manner in order to make correct decisions. When stressed, it is harder for your brain to put the pieces of information together in a way that serves you.


It's like the time I sprinkled paprika on my bircher muesli instead of...

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Why headcount hurts us during crunch times (and what to do about it)

Despite all the planning in the world, one thing you often can’t predict is being short on people. People take unexpected leave and resignations occur all the time at any time, and new staff need time to get up to speed. It hurts when that time is crunch time.


When faced with staff turnover, reassess the purpose of the open role: do you need a preparer, reviewer, agent or coach? This will increase the effectiveness of your recruitment process and it will help identify your immediate need during crunch time.


Resist the impulse to simply allow others to roll up their sleeves and cover the workload. This may be the final outcome, but it’s important to remember why we have 4 different roles during a crunch time:


[if !supportLists]• [endif]Prevent the impact of fatigue on performance. Working 24hrs a day, event for a short period of time, may not impact engagement, but it will impact effectiveness (read: quality and accuracy).


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