I just finished reading an article that was written back in 2004 about a specific car manufacturing company and how the company was methodically taking over the industry. I came across the article by accident. However, one thing got my attention.

What got my attention was not the topic but was just something that stuck out to me. The idea of what falls between the cracks.

I think that when it comes to leadership we all have a tendency to focus on vision, goals and team development. I have noticed that when it comes to my role as a leader, many times there are just things that overlooked. Most of the times there are team members that step up and pick them up, but there are times that they just get forgotten about until it becomes a full-blown problem. It is at this point that tempers flair up and accusations begin to fly. This usually ends up causing unnecessary stress on the team and can eventually cause the team to destruct.

The question that this raises is “how do we avoid letting things slip between the cracks?” When it comes to a project, the obvious things are well…. obvious. An example is driving a car. If you go to get in a car to go for a drive and you don’t have the keys, enough gas or.. tires, well those things are obvious. However, what about checking the oil, or the air pressure in those tires? The assumption is that all of that stuff is already taken care of, and all you need is the obvious stuff. Just remember that the assumption that those other things are taken care of can lead to a major problem down the road.

I have found that one of the easiest ways is just recognition of those things and having a system in place to address them before they become problems. When it comes to team planning, I like to run through all of the potential “little things” in my head and come up with a plan to address them. It is a little like playing a game of chess. You need to run through the moves in your head and figure out what would happen if you made that move. Once those “crack fillers” are identified, it becomes easier to avoid them falling into the cracks.

The next step is where true leadership comes in. A great leader will train the team to identify those details, so the responsibility does not always fall on one person. Once the team understands the method and are all working towards the same goal, less and less will end up down in the cracks. This will lead to a stronger team and a lot less stress on their leader.

This week’s experiment: Are there things falling into the cracks that are causing you and your team problems? What is your plan to fix this problem?