Everybody. Dance. Now. A Simple Lesson in Leadership.
Caveat: If you’re using a PC, please use an earpiece. Today’s lesson comes with a song ☺
In the past few months, along with my business partners, I’ve been privileged to lead an expanding team of young people, and one of the most vital lessons I learnt along the way, apparently, was from the song “Everybody Dance Now” by C & C Music Factory.
Old school stuff.
You guys should know the song. Few words used. Mostly incoherent (in the actual sense of the word). A Techno-ish beat. Some screaming woman melodiously demanding for “The Music”.
Caution – This song might make you want to move your body.
As a leader, most of your time would be spent on giving instructions to those who (are crazy enough to) believe in your dream by working for, or with you. And if you look closely at the title of that song, it sums up the 3 most important factors needed in giving instructions:
Everybody: This word indicates generality, but for the purpose of this lesson, let’s tweak it a bit to signify specificity. As a leader, every instruction you give must be assigned to a specific person, or a specific group of people. That way, if things go south, everyone knows whom to hold responsible. In the same light, if things go perfectly well, you know whom to appreciate.
Easy lesson, right? Maybe. But in real life, it’s much easier to just throw instructions into the air, and hope that someone would be pro-active enough to catch and execute it. That almost never works.
Dance: Instructions must be clear and concise. I mean, how clearer can the instruction “Dance” be? (I know there are over a million dance steps you can ask them to do, but just… stay with me here). Try as much as possible to explain, very clearly, what you need that person/group to do, and then eliminate any grey areas that might affect the execution of those assigned duties.
Now: Instructions must have a timeframe. A clear-cut timeframe for execution. This timeframe must be followed up very closely… almost vehemently. If not, it would never get done. Why? You might ask? It’s because things are easier left undone. Sad truth. Have you ever noticed, if you have a faulty electronic device (a shaky phone charger or adapter for example), that it seems like the device is more comfortable when it’s off? But in order to switch it on, you have to bend it a little here, and hold it down there, and steady the device a bit, before it finally comes on?
Yeah. I know. It’s annoying. I feel your pain too.
Lastly, instructions must be followed up. Not in some boring kind of way (a la the carrot-or-stick method), but in an innovative way. Test different methods of following up instructions. Find out what works. And don’t be afraid to shake things up a bit.
But, in getting people to get things done, never, ever step on people’s heads, or treat them like slaves.
Never. Never. Ever.
Now. Everybody. Dance.