The power curve is a critical skill area that my first mentor taught me. I was blessed with a wonderful mentor for most of my career. He and I got along famously, and he taught me a number of leadership skills over the years.
He was not a perfect manager himself, as he had a tendency to micromanage people. I found that out early and worked hard to over-communicate with him. I also anticipated what he would ask, so I could usually say, “I already did it.” After a while, he stopped micromanaging me and left me alone to do what I thought was right.
The Power Curve
One critical skill he taught me was what he called “operating ahead of the power curve.” It took me a while to figure out what that meant. I eventually got the idea, and the concept has been incredibly important to my success in life.
The idea is to charge at the work very early and not wait until just before something is due to get it done. That takes some discipline to do, but it is a wonderful way to live. Reason: you do things in rough draft form well before the due date. Then you can relax and hone them in due time. It works well.
For example, as I am writing this blog article, it is the third one I have written this hour. My pattern is to put out three articles each week. I have a stock of numerous articles ahead of me, so I don’t have to rush them out. I can think about them. When the inventory gets low, I bang out 4-6 more articles to get ahead of the power curve.
Help from my wife
My wife helps me by proofreading the text and making suggestions for improved content and search engine optimization. Then I rewrite the article and have it “on the shelf,” ready for when it’s needed. That way, I am never rushed to get an article out, and I can take my time working on the content of each one.
Works in all areas of life
Try the technique of working “ahead of the power curve” in your life. The process works well for school papers, budgets, painting the house, or any activity that you might want to procrastinate on. Just grit your teeth and do the bulk of the job early. You will find that the quality of your finished work is much higher. You are also less stressed about getting the work done. That is a wonderful benefit for anyone.
Bob Whipple, MBA, CPTD, is a consultant, trainer, speaker, and author in the areas of leadership and trust. He is the author of: Trust in Transition: Navigating Organizational Change, The Trust Factor: Advanced Leadership for Professionals, Understanding E-Body Language: Building Trust Online, and Leading with Trust is Like Sailing Downwind. Bob has many years as a senior executive with a Fortune 500 Company and with non-profit organizations.