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Leadership Lessons—Anticipation and Preparation

I write this from DFW airport on our way to Punta Cana via Miami. Minutes ago I just got another lesson on leadership and how I need to get better.

Every year The Dwyer Group has a Leadership Summit. Top franchisees of all eight brands (Glass Doctor, Mr. Rooter, Mr. Appliance, Aire Serv, Mr. Electric, Grounds Guys, Five Star Painting and Rainbow Restoration) are invited to this event. Only the best-of-the-best are invited to attend. Today we are headed to the beautiful Barcelo Bavaro Beach Resort with our top franchisees.

Remember the Carly Simon song that played with the Heinz ketchup commercial that was titled “Anticipation?” That is what this week has been. Trying to get ready to be out of the country for almost a week and making sure I have gotten done what needed to be done. About noon yesterday it seemed the week was going slower that the ketchup in the bottle. About 5 p.m., I realized I needed a couple more hours—ever happen to you?

Good leaders have checklists. Good leaders read everything necessary to prepare. Good leaders know exactly what needs to get done before they jump on the plane. This brings me back to the fact that I’m not a good leader yet.

Several years ago we got the American Airlines charge card for the sole purpose of getting better seats when we get on an airplane and being able to check our luggage free. I never read the fine print that said this is “not valid on international flights.” As Mary Kay and I went to check two bags each we learned about this fact. I cost $130 to check luggage. NO WAY!

We checked one bag each for only $50. Score … until I was going through security and they discovered the $30+ of suntan lotion, aloe, block, etc., that I had in the bottom of the one bag.

I had checked the bag with all the liquids only to be reminded that I had plenty of room to put the lotions in that bag but forgot where I put them. As I watched them all go into the garbage I was reminded that I didn’t write this article yet. Why? I didn’t put it on my “to do” list. Another leadership mistake.

Anticipation. The ketchup is now spilling over the side of my plate.

This all comes back to the question of what are we preparing for this year? Are you really prepared or are you somewhat preparing the way I do for a week-long trip? I just received the note that Auto Glass Week™ 2015 is in Reno, Tahoe, this year. Great! Are you planning on it? Are you putting the things in motion necessary to be ready for the trip so they don’t thrown your suntan lotion out … or the equivalent?

I’m sure next week’s article will be about what I learned this week. When a group of leaders are assembled I always come away with many lessons I try and share—and remember!

For the travelers reading this, at least I remembered to walk up the gate agent as soon as he appeared and asked him if there were exit row seats available to Miami … and subsequently to Punta Cana. There were. There is hope for me yet. Have a great week.

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