Sunday, November 4, 2007

Working the Seams

In combat, units are often most vulnerable in the seams between units. Each assumes that the other has a particular area or issue covered, until they discover that neither one does.

Seams can be considered in two common areas:

-- Geographic: In and around physical boundaries between separate units, neither covers critical middle ground.
-- Temporal: Units may leave a particular area uncovered during the transition from one covering unit to another.

So what happens in seams between units? Usually something bad. The enemy fills the void and wreaks havoc. The vacuum created by a lack of presence by friendly units is quickly filled. Bad people do bad things.

In business, leaders must be equally vigilant to the presence of seams. They occur when we assume that an area is covered by our sales staff, only to learn that someone has come in and taken our customers. They are a problem when we lack leadership presence on the shop floor, in the school cafeteria, or patrolling city streets. Bad things (like our competitors), will find a way to exploit these gaps.

Ask yourself where your seams are in your organization. Consider both geographic and temporal considerations. Now get out there and do something about them. Apply heavy doses of leadership. Fill them…before the enemy does. That is Leader Business.

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