How to Look Round Corners

The sales number looked great with two weeks to go, and now we’ve missed it.  By a lot.  Up to the last week, the sales team was solid: “98% likely.  We’ve got a bunch of upside”.  The product was going to ship in three weeks, for sure, and now it needs another month.  The weekend before the ship date the product team was quietly confident: “yes, we’ll make it”.   They were wrong.

This happens (not usually both at the same time, I should add :-), and has shown up in coaching a few times in the last year.

At some point in a management career, and the earlier the better, we need to develop the ability to look round corners, to see the ice starting to get thin, to sense when the wheels are about to come off (if you’ll forgive the many mixed metaphors).  This is where management becomes much more than checking tasks off a list, or numbers off a spreadsheet.  Now we are learning to sense the scope and abilities of the organization.
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