Leaders, get ready to lock and load

Leaders wear many hats.  Good ones are visionaries, coaches, cheerleaders and trailblazers.  Yet when times get tough or change happens, the chief role of a leader becomes that of a trouble shooter with the responsibility for preparing the team for immediate action.  As they say in the movies…It’s time to lock and load.

The phrase “lock and load” has its origins in times of battle and whichever origin you choose to believe, it describes a combination of the resources and process you need to follow to successfully hit your target. 

As leaders (and troubleshooters), what are the resources and processes we need to follow if we are top successfully hit our targets in times of change?

Know your target

The first  step in the process is to clearly define what our target is by answering questions like… 

What does success look like?

How long do we have before we can realistically get there?

What happens if we do not reach out goal?

What resources do we need to have if we are to  prevent that from happening?

How do we best obtain and deploy those resources?

Provision your team

One of the worst things we can do as leaders is to fail to provision our team adequately.  Without the right manpower and ammunition, you are sending your trouble shooters on a suicide mission.  They can’t succeed and they know it.  This will rapidly erode both morale and commitment to reaching the ultimate goal in all but the most extreme of cases. 

As leaders, our responsibility is to get our team what they need by providing those resources either directly or through partnerships with others who have a shared belief in reaching our goal.  Equally important, as leaders, we need to clear the path for the team, removing obstacles or other blocks created by process or conflicts that get in their way so that they have a clear line of sight and an unobstructed path to the targeted goals.


Following the plan that you and your team have developed, lock it in.  In this age of technology, there are lots of tools available that allow you to post your plan and track your progress in a way that makes it easy for everyone to see where we are and where we need to get to.  One that I am currently using is TeamBox.  By outlining and updating our projects, tasks, and assignments online for everyone on the project to see, we can quickly identify what is getting done and what has yet to be accomplished.  Built-in communications tools allow the team to share what’s working and what needs more support or resources.  As the team leader, I can monitor where things are able to move forward cleanly and quickly as well as where things are or are likely to get jammed up or cause a misfire in our project plan and may need a little leadership grease. 


You have your team in position and the resources are in their hands.  If you have done your job, you have set a clear line of sign to the targeted goals through both planning and process. At this point you have your manpower and your ammo.  It’s time to load up and get ready for immediate action. Get out of the way so they can…

Move Forward and Fire!

Our plans may lay out that we proceed slowly with caution or with a burst of forward movement, but either way, moving forward is essential. Once we have given them the ability to lock and load, our job as leaders is to ensure that they continue to have the support, the resources and the reinforcements they may need on their journey to the goal.  Whether we are shooting for a local goal or leading a global initiative, our job as leaders is to make sure that they have what they need to get there and then be there to celebrate their success when they reach it.

Thanks for stopping by.  Stay tuned…

Joan Koerber-Walker

Joan Koerber-Walker is President and CEO of AZBio, the Arizona BioIndustry Association.  A two time Stevie Award National Finalist and former Fortune 500 executive, she is also the  Chairman of the Board of CorePurpose, Inc. and the Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship Foundation and serves as Executive in Residence for Callaman Ventures.  As the former CEO of the Arizona Small Business Association and a past member of the Board of Trustees of the National Small Business Association in Washington, D.C. Joan has worked with hundreds of small businesses and on behalf of thousands in these roles.  Chat with her on Twitter as @AZbioCEO @joankw, @JKWgrowth, @JKWinnovation, @JKWleadership and @CorePurpose or at her blog at www.JoanKoerber-Walker.com.

Your Opportunity to Join Joan

On Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 10:30 AM  Eastern/7:30 AM Pacific, you can join Joan as she chats with Zane Safrit on Blog Talk Radio.  For information on how to listen live or to tune in to the  replay after the show, click here.


Posted in Leadership and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , .