If You Don’t Know Whats Going On Its Tough To Give Advice

magnifyingglassI was out running today, training for my next marathon in October, and when I run I use a technique pioneered by Jeff Galloway. This techniques involves both running and walking.

Personally my regime is to run for three minutes and then walk for a minute, I find that works best for me.

One of the benefits of this technique is that it’s less stressful on the muscles and can help reduce lactic acid, so it’s believed to be a healthier way of running, especially for longer runs.

Anyway this morning as I completed one 3 minute run and started to walk, there was a gentleman sat on a bench, and as I slowed to a walk he said “come on you can keep going, don’t give up just yet”.

Now whilst he felt he was motivation me, giving me encouragement and the benefit of his advice, he didn’t actually know what my plan was, or that this walk was scheduled into my training. He had no clue how far I was planning to run or for how long I had already been running. Yet none of this stopped him from trying to give me advice.

This reminded me of the need for transparency and accurate up to date information.

As leaders, when we look to give advice and encouragement, we need to understand the plan of our teams and make sure that our advice fits with what they are planning to do.

And it’s the same for us, if we start to receive advice and guidance from others.

To them this might seem like good advice, but we have spent time planning, we know what we are intending to do, and we should look to stick to our plans, not just change them based on random uninformed input.

I remember one project I was working on and although we were a little bit behind schedule I gave the team the weekend off.

My boss who’d been out on vacation for the previous couple of weeks challenged that and told everyone that they needed to come in and work this weekend to try and make up the lost time.

What he didn’t know was that many of the team had worked 21 days straight and were on the verge of burn out and that for several of them I was going to need them to work the another 21 days straight in a couple of weeks time in order to implement the system one weekend, and then support the go-live the following two.

Once I explained that to him, he could see the benefit and reason as to why we needed to give people the time off; and he fully supported the decision.

Without transparency into plans and current progress its very easy to make wrong decisions, or give poor advice.

As leaders we should look to make sure that we always have up to date information and understanding so that we can make fact based decisions, and not just random gut based suggestions based on partial information, as thats the route to failure.