Being a strategic leader begins with having a strategic mindset. This week, we begin understanding that mindset. The week will look like this:
A day in the life…
It’s a Monday and I get to work an hour early so I can follow up and respond to all the messages that have piled up over the weekend. I give a cursory nod and mumble good morning to my colleagues as they walk by my desk, most of them as intent on getting started as I am. Although I try and focus on my inbox, several different people come to me with questions over the course of the next 90 minutes. Despite the interruptions, I’m able to respond to about half of my email by multitasking through our conversations. Still, I get bogged down in answering some resource availability questions from Didier, the lead manager for project Blue. I leave that email half completed and put together an agenda for a meeting I’m leading tomorrow but I can’t complete it because Esther and I never finished a conversation that was necessary to shape the meeting. I email Esther to set up a phone call. By now I am on my third cup of black coffee.
I leave the office briefly to grab lunch at the local fast food place and return to eat at my desk. I gobble down my meal as I review a report on the project Red status, which I need to submit next week. There is a lunch table in a break room, but most of us rarely use it.
After lunch I spend 90 minutes working on the presentation that I’ll use to summarize the project Red report. I check email again and respond to a few things. Later in the afternoon I get a call from Gregg complaining about Akira, who is “screwing up” the project they are working on. This is a surprise to me and I spend two hours emailing back and forth between the pair trying to figure out the problem.
I manage to get Gregg and Akira’s issue resolved but arrive late to my afternoon meeting. It’s mostly informational and I’m relieved that I didn’t miss anything important. I review the agenda as I sit down. None of it really applies to me and I spend the next 45 minutes trying to look interested while surreptitiously responding to texts and email on my phone. I run to my next meeting which is a project meeting led by Abhijit. I return the call from my doctor’s office as I walk down the hallway, hoping for good news on the test results. While the meeting with Abhijit is critical, Abhijit is disorganized. There is no agenda, and by the time we get half-way through the meeting I realize that we need some information that Akira has, but she was not invited to the meeting. We take a break and I call Akira to get the information. By this point I’m pretty frustrated. I was communicating with Akira all morning and it would have been simple to get that information ahead of time had I known it was needed.
After the meeting I check my voice mails. There is another complaint about Nadia. I doubt Nadia is going to make it through the first year. I add the complaint to my file and check the metrics on Nadia’s performance over the past two months. I spend 45 minutes crafting an email to Nadia inquiring about the situation and noting my disappointment in the metrics. After sending the email, I spend another 45 minutes dealing with all the email I received during the afternoon, including a chain of 15 emails from Gregg and Akira that I am copied on.
As I wrap up my day I realize I never got the information about resources for Didier. I scribble it down on my to-do list for tomorrow. I sigh deeply, and begin to add the other things I didn’t get done:
Regarding names: All names were pulled from the list of 2018 and 2019 Nobel Prize winners.
Do good and be well,