No MBA mumbo-jumbo, just stuff that's worked through 30 years of team-building in business and the military.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Law of Adjustment

There’s a leadership principle every coach knows: You have to adjust to win.

The Army axiom that relates is, “No plan survives enemy contact.” The Law of Adjustment simply says that you will have to adapt in response to how events unfold. No adjustments means failure.

The leadership challenge is how to know when an adjustment is needed. You won’t unless you have some way of monitoring what is going on, either by checking computer data, walking around, or maybe being briefed by your people. You have to put some thought into the right indicators to look at, and the right tools to use. Key question: “How will I know if we start to fail?”

The law of adjustment empowers you to do three things:

1. Bounce back from failure. “I was succeeding until X happened. So next time, at that point I’m going to do Y.”

2. Turn impending failure into success. “X isn’t working so let’s try Y.”

3. Exploit success. “Wow, instead of X we’re making money at Y. Let’s put more resources there.”

The bottom line: Adjustments are as important as the plan or process itself. As a leader you need to see that making adjustments is a key part of your role. Actively look for what needs to change; you’re probably the only one who will.

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