As a leader, should I focus on yesterday or tomorrow?

Image for leadership posts by michael giuffrida from southington ctThis is a question which has plagued managers and leaders forever.  After a crisis, should they spend their time figuring out what went wrong or what to do next? The challenge is that the answer is a little bit of both.  It is important to understand what happened yesterday and to NEVER forget the lessons you learned, but it is much more productive energy to focus on what you will do differently tomorrow.  Consider the impact this could have on your team.

Let’s hypothesize a scenario when a usually well performing team does a project that goes terribly wrong.  There was scope creep which caused the project to go wildly over budget and key players made some mistakes which resulted in very unhappy clients.  How should a good leader handle this situation after the project is finally complete?  While it would be “easy” to scream and yell about how badly we messed up, this team who usually does a good job would be demoralized and it would likely affect their performance on future projects.  Alternatively, trying to understand what went wrong and focusing on how we improve without laying any blame could motivate this team to even better performance than usual.

Perhaps the person who made the mistakes was having a bad day because of some personal issues that have been distracting them.  This doesn’t make them bad at what they do, or a bad person, but it does mean that they need to understand that personal issues can not affect their performance in the office, and if they are in a situation where focusing is not possible, they should take some personal time to get things straight outside of work.  By having that private discussion with them, you will likely gain more allegiance from them and they will ultimately perform even better for your organization.

A good leader should go through each of their daily challenges with this eye to ensure that tomorrow is what matters because you can not change the past.  Consider the past, but FOCUS on the future.

Michael Giuffrida from Southington CT has been operating businesses since 1997.  He is an experienced entrepreneur in business management, profitable growth, business valuation, mergers and acquisitions, and information technology managed security services.

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