“From previous experience with setting up for meetings, I was told to plan for more, set up for less and build for success. If I expected fifty people to show up, set up for forty and look like you are building beyond expectation. Of course, you were supposed to plan for seventy-five and adjust your presentation for the number that was actually in attendance. This means that you had to be as prepared for 10 as you were for a hundred.

So, what happens when you far exceeded the expectation and do not have enough resources to meet the need? This week our school enrolled one hundred more students than was expected (a 13% increase) and one hundred forty more than were enrolled the previous year (an 18% increase).

Needless to say, students were like sardines and instruction was like casting seed into the wind. But, what kept it all running as smooth as possible? High visibility and verbal support. Tensions could have run away with the campus like a team of horses without a lead. Instead, administrators stayed mobile and on the alert. They picked up the slack and quick responses averted relational collisions. Each opportunity was seen as a teaching moment for students and faculty. Calm resolve provided smooth transitions. Cool heads turned simmering kettles into lemonade stands. Positive attitudes leveled mountains into molehills. In the end, prepared leadership enables a possible disaster to become an exemplar of success.

And this is the hardest week? Then the next thirty-nine ought to be smooth sailing!”

SC Response
This is what I mean by action oriented leadership. When leadership is out with the staff, it is in a position to solve problems when they are small and get resources to where the need is critical. This cannot be done from the office or by reading e-mail reports from the field. What is interesting is that when leadership is close by providing support and resources, it is never viewed as micro-managing. It is when leadership shows up infrequently and then provides little but criticism and “helpful” suggestions, that staff begin to bristle.

Congratulations on the exciting week and the increase in enrollment. When you are successful in solving the unexpected problems, the run of the mill problems seem to start solving themselves.

Think. Work. Achieve.

Your turn…