Les McKeown's Predictable Success Blog

  • February 28, 2011
  • minute read

We all look good on Mondays 

Some time back I owned a business that each year placed about 100 newly minted graduates into internships with organizations around the world. We managed the logistics – the training, accommodation and other mechanical details – so the companies and the graduates could focus on the business side of things. It was a heck of a program.

We ran a competition every year, and the best intern won a prize and promise of employment. It became somewhat prestigious and we usually had an oversupply of great candidates. One thing my partner and I quickly learned was to judge the ‘Explorer of the Year’ (as we called them) over the full nine months of the program. Many of the grads made splashy starts, only to finish gnarly. An impressive, fast-out-of-the-gate young intern would look good for a month or two, then as their life became more complicated we would see projects left uncompleted, loose ends not tied up, promises unfulfilled.

This lesson has stayed with me in the interactions I have with senior leaders. I see many leaders who look good on Mondays, but not so hot by Friday. They’re great in January, not so impressive by December. You know the sort: their first 90 days on any job are explosive; they start new projects with alacrity; they ‘front’ very well.

I prefer leaders who look good on Fridays. Leaders who know how to finish – with grace and real completion. Leaders who tie up loose ends and close out promises. Leaders for whom ‘getting it done‘ doesn’t mean ‘getting it started‘.

Sometimes quiet openers are great closers. Often great openers are horrible closers. Very occasionally a great opener is also a superb closer, though it’s rare.

It’s Monday. You probably look good as a leader today. How did you look last Friday?


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