Building Winning Products, Leadership

Early or Not At All

A leadership position is one of leverage and impact, but people in positions of authority must be especially careful with their inherent ability to drive change. In the words, of Spiderman’s uncle, “with great power comes great responsibility.”

Having outsized influenced by nature of title is a double edged sword. The boss can always get the meeting and always has the team’s ear. Absent constraints, the temptation is to provide advice on your timeline, and often, this means as a project approaches the ship date. Enter Seth Godin,

“making a change to your software 5 months in is really really expensive, and unfortunately big Egos and big drama from people at the top of the hierarchy mean that they don't look at it at the beginning. They look at at the end. They're too busy to look at anything before the last minute and they look at it at the last minute and go. Oh, no, you can't do this. You've got to change this fundamental piece of it.”

The churn and expense you create with late advice will ripple throughout the organization. You have to ask yourself if it’s worth it - is your perspective so insightful that it warrants inflicting your lack of prioritization upon the team? Again, Seth Godin strikes the right note,

“if someone claims to have authority in your organization, they need to be in the meeting at the beginning. They may not come to the meeting at the end. Those people, the ones who claim to have authority. If they're there at the beginning they can have influence, they can have input, they can take responsibility. But as the project advances they've got to get out of the way”

So what is the well intentioned leader to do? You have to decide. Yes, decide. You have to decide that this project matters enough to spend time on now, when it isn’t urgent. You have to decide that something perhaps more urgent, is indeed less important, today.

Get in early, or not at all.

AUDIO Source: Akimbo