At the start of crunch time (for financial reporting, think 1 July in Australia, 1 January in the US, etc), you need action. Big time. But in order for action to occur, you have to have the right capability to support the right action.
During the time I lived and worked in San Francisco, I’ll never forget the morning I sat for my driving test to get my California drivers license. I had my Australian license, and had been driving with a transitional license. Once I arrived at the DMV, I got in the car with the examiner and a few turns in, she said ‘please make a left turn, we’re heading back to the DMV now’.
'That was quick’, I thought.
We pulled into the DMV and came to a standstill. ‘You’ve had an automatic fail, ma’am. You committed a lane violation.’ She was referring to one of those bike lanes that simply look like the gutter and I hadn’t had much experience with bike lanes before I’d left Sydney. I had no clue that I needed to treat them like a normal lane. So she got me, fair and square.
While I thought had the capability to become a licensed California driver, it turns out I hadn't. And so in I walked to schedule another test in 2 weeks time.
I share this with you, because when your next crunch time starts, it’s unlikely that you can afford a 2 week false start like I had. You need to hit the ground running and to do this, you need to evaluate whether you and your team have all the capabilities you need to deliver. These may include people who can:
• get the answer right (technical skills)
• manage stakeholders, prioritise and remove roadblocks (leadership skills)
• have the challenging conversations that tend to arise during crunch time (communication skills)
Think about your last crunch time. What skills and capabilities would have helped you kick off your crunch time in a more impactful way?
Post script: I did end up getting my license the next time I sat it. What I didn’t realise until 2 years after we’d returned to Australia was that it had ‘M’ printed on the license for my gender. But that’s another story.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org