The Leadership Law of Good Timing

Timing is often the difference between success and failure in any endeavour. In a crisis, or during a critical event, all too often, timing comes into painful focus and can make or break a leader, as well as their organisation.

However, according to Tracy Reinhold, Chief Security Officer at Everbridge, timing is not neutral. It will either have a positive impact or a negative impact on your decision making and is hence an irrefutable law of leadership.

The annals of business history show us that even with the best planning, practices and risk mitigation in place, few businesses are fully immune to crisis. Think cyberattack, fire, security alert, adverse weather and power outages to name a few.

When a ‘critical event’ strikes, cutting time too close can leave leaders exposed to loss and impair their ability to react. Success is about learning to adjust timing according to the environment and apply the Law of Timing to decisions for the best outcomes. It is also about having the right tools in place to empower their timing skills. Here are eight key considerations: –

1. The wrong action at the wrong time leads to disaster and negative repercussions. Even when the stakes are not as high as life and death, the wrong action at the wrong time can cause any department or small team to suffer. People suffer and so does the leadership.

2. The right action at the wrong time brings resistance. Good leadership timing firstly requires understanding. Leaders must have a firm awareness and grasp of the situation. Then there’s maturity. Leaders’ motives must be right. Confidence is important because people follow leaders who know what must be done and take decisive action. Wishy washy leaders create wish washy followers.

3. The wrong action at the right time is also a mistake. Natural entrepreneurs often possess a strong sense of timing; knowing when to seize an opportunity. One of the biggest challenges in business is knowing when to cut losses and when to increase investment to maximise gains.

4. The right action at the right time results in success. Organisations can achieve goals, reap rewards and gain momentum. This is pivotal because when the stakes are high the consequences of the law of timing are dramatic and immediate.

5. Understanding the initiatives in a business that have failed. Big or small, it will help leaders to define the difference between the wrong action chosen, or bad timing.

6. Expertise. Leaders can’t expect to know everything and should seek counsel from those people who possess specific expertise to accelerate accurate decision-making and response.

7. Preparation. If the conditions aren’t right, leaders must create those conditions. Without these things, timing will be off.

8. Do not deal with critical events using manual processes and disjointed systems. This hampers efficiency and effectiveness when timing is all-important. Critical event management technology can monitor and visualise a threat in relation to an organisation’s assets and coordinate the appropriate resources. Being able to pinpoint threats rapidly and automate the response is the only way to avoid costly impact, keep people safe and protect business operations. Look for a solution that embraces the whole gamut of planning, data and asset management, automated workflows, communications, channels and logistics.

Knowing what to do in any situation is not enough to succeed in leadership. You must pay attention to timing. Only the right action at the right time will bring success. Anything else exacts a high price. No leader can escape the law of timing… particularly in the eye of a crisis.

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