If your CEO walked into your area and asked for a tour, what would be your first reaction?
As a leader, if you and your group are always prepared to host the CEO or the president of your country for a tour, you are automatically infusing strong leadership principles.
If your boss, director or CEO asked for a ride to the airport, would you be comfortable with the cleanliness of your car or would you have to scramble to make it presentable? A friend, Dan, told me he interviewed for a job and one of the questions asked about his organizational skills. He described his approaches to the satisfaction of the interviewer. They both went to lunch and when they got to the parking lot, the interviewer said he had left his car keys inside and asked if Dan would mind driving. Dan agreed, and they went to the restaurant. After he hired Dan, the interviewer told him that this approach was part of the interview. The interviewer wanted to see if Dan was organized and orderly and knew that how a person keeps their car is indicative of how they do many things in life. Dan’s car was clean and not cluttered.
President Bush visited a large company while president. I talked to one lab supervisor where Bush was visiting. They had just a week’s notice and had to scramble to spruce up the place. They laid out his tour path and then painted those areas, replaced the carpet, cleaned out the labs, and other things to ensure it was perfect. I wondered why they had not done those things before? If it was not ready for the president, it really was not ready for the employees.
Have you visited a restaurant and found the restroom in poor shape and not clean? Did you wonder if they apply the same approach to preparing the food? Leadership is about being ‘Tour Ready’. It is doing things in a disciplined way that you could open the door and be instantly ready to show anyone your area and be proud of it. When I worked in a manufacturing area, we would spend a lot of time preparing for senior leader or customer tours. We dreaded these because of all the hoops we jumped through. One of the leadership principles that emerged was to run our operation as if the CEO or vice president could show up and do an instant tour and we would be ready. We were not always perfect but having this mindset created a disciplined approach that also impacted our overall performance.
Having this approach sets into motion many foundations for effective leadership without evening thinking about it. How you approach anything is really how you approach everything (Dennis McIntee). Having a steady, methodical approach to all of your systems will impact your bottom line. I took my tractor in to have a tire replaced. Where I sat, I could see the shop area and the mechanic working. The shop was filled with junk and old parts. It was dirty and dingy. He could not find the right tools or the right jack for the tractor. A 10-minute job took him 90 minutes. With a little cleaning and organization, he could have done three or four jobs in that 90 minutes. The same applies to our people and business.
If you were having guests for dinner tonight, how much cleaning would you feel compelled to do?
What is one area that is disorganized and could be improved?
Would you say your group is more chaotic, stable, or very organized?
Can you describe a situation how disorganization or clutter cost you money or time?