By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy
Here’s an idea to help you take more control over changing dynamics. Reading time: 2:56
So what if your desk is buried beneath a paper blizzard of memos, reports etc ? Consider shoveling a few more “snowflakes” around to stay more alert and ready when the winds of change swirl even harder.
Not to Donald Rumsfeld, the former corporate CEO and a two-time Secretary of Defense.
Rumsfeld shoveled a daily dose of 20-60 snowflakes.
That’s the term his staff gave to the flurry of followup memos and notes-to-self he would dictate and they would print and distribute after every key meeting Rumsfeld attended.
Call it Meeting After Care Instructions–some 20,000 snowflakes in his career that his staff carefully and meticulously filed and tracked in an extensive tickler system–so that he could more fully lead no matter how windy the conditions.
Some snowflakes were one-line long. Others were 2-3 pages that captured an idea at the meeting and projected outcomes that needed his followup. All of his snowflakes were designed to maintain a keen focus on the objectives, timelines and milestones of a key decision.
Snowflake-shoveling leaders embrace the notion of management guru Peter Drucker who said you should write a memo to yourself every time you make a key decision.
Your memo should outline what you expect to happen. Then 9-months later you update that memo with what actually happened and what you can learn from that planned-and-realized gap.
You can shovel out Snowflakes in the Personal version and the Project version.
In the Personal Snowflake version, your memos capture your impressions of others in the meeting, their key points, your responses and what topics or references you want to bring up at the next meeting.
In the Project Snowflake version, you structure your memo as the basis for your next meeting that summarizes where we were at the last meeting, what we agreed to do, what we have completed, what is still outstanding and what we are proposing for the next step.
It’s instructive to note that no matter how many snowflakes you shovel, no two snowflakes are alike. And all have a limited shelf life. All infuse each of them with a greater sense of significance and importance.
All the more reason to beware of scheduling yourself in back to back meetings.
Give yourself at least a 30-minute lapse between meetings so that you can catch your breath, shovel a few snowflakes to help you add clarity — crystal clear clarity—to better solve a problem or following up on an action. Stone cold.
Create after-meeting notes to keep your leadership thinking in mint condition.
SUBSCRIBE: Have a Leadership Mint delivered to your E-mail every business day. It’s free. Just click the SIGN ME UP box in the upper left column.