Leaders Know When to “Seize the Moment”

by  Tara R. Alemany  |  Self Leadership

If you were alive around the time “Dead Poets Society” was popular, back in 1989 (has it been that long already?!), I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase Carpe Diem. In Latin, this translates to “Seize the Day.”

Effective leaders learn to recognize and then “seize the moment” whenever it presents itself.

I was recently working on a networking site where someone asked a simple question. They wanted to know how to get their business found easily and inexpensively on the internet. This was a question that I had the answer to, so I took the time to provide an informative answer. When I finished my response, I realized that this was probably a very common question. So, I took the material I started with and repurposed it into a post for my blog. (One that I might note was picked up by Alltop’s Facebook account.)

Once that was completed, I saw the leadership lesson in the process, so I started on this post for the Lead Change group.

The point is this: Effective leaders recognize that there is no such thing as a “stupid question,” and when someone asks them for information, they make sure it’s communicated to everyone who might benefit from it.

Answers aren’t locked behind closed doors, and provided during one-on-ones. There’s no such thing as a “need to know” basis for most information. For the team to function effectively, everyone has to be on the same page of the playbook. And it’s the leader’s responsibility to ensure that their followers have the information they need to succeed at whatever task lies before them.

So, how’s your team doing? Are they all on the same page? If not, what are you going to do to seize the moment and bring clarity to the situation?

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Tristan Bishop  |  03 Nov 2010  |  Reply

This is a great question, Tara!

For me, these moments come every time someone asks, “How do I find information about that?” In many cases, the answer has already been written. However, within any large-scale enterprise, a high percentage of knowledge is locked away in silos. In some cases, this content is only available to (or known by) the team that authored it. Inaccessible information barely exists. So I use each “moment of need” as a springboard. I sieze the teachable moments (when someone can’t find something) and use that to connect people, processess and systems. This results in free-flowing knowledge stream for internal employees and external customers. This ensures efficient access to effective content.

You are so right: If we see a moment and fail to sieze it, another window closes.

Tara R. Alemany  |  03 Nov 2010  |  Reply

Thanks, Tristan! I appreciate your insight on this topic. Information that’s trapped in a silo somewhere “barely exists.” Temporarily, it’s there. But it’s useless when it’s locked away.

For an organization to be able to function effectively, leaders must identify which information must be distributed more broadly, and ensure that it is. Using questions as a prompting to share information is simply picking the low hanging fruit! If someone asked, you can be certain there are others who have wondered, but didn’t ask.

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