On Time, In Full (OTIF - The Leadership Metric)

OTIFIf you are a supply chain guru, you probably recognize the phrase "On Time in Full" or "OTIF" as it is a metric frequently used by suppliers to measure success at delivering exactly what the customer ordered on the day it was supposed to be delivered. For example, a retailer places an order for product from a consumer goods supplier, the CG supplier either does or does not deliver the order on the date assigned and / or the order is or is not complete. When I read this phase, I also think about being "on time" and contributing "in full" in the day-to-day operations of the business - and after hours in contributing to community and philanthropic endeavors. Showing up on time for scheduled meetings. Arriving early for events. Following-up with stakeholders in the timeframe prescribed and with the requested content (at a minimum). Preparing and doing homework prior to a meeting or working session so I am contributing "in full." Offering to take notes, follow-up and schedule the next meeting or working session - bringing my full self - knowledge, insights, energy, focus and ideas - to a team, group, meeting, working session or community activity. Leaving my Blackberry in the case and my laptop closed during meetings. Being on time...and contributing in full. As my boss likes to say, arriving on time is late in my book!

The reality is most organizations, teams and individuals would not receive a high or favorable OTIF score if we used it to gauge individual contribution or engagement (hypothetically using the metric in day-to-day business operations). The unintended consequences of ignoring this simple measure are significant.

A few stats on meetings (Source - Infocomm): >> 11 million meetings occur in the U.S. every day - most professionals attend a total of 61.8 meetings/month >>Stats on professionals that meet regularly admit - 91% daydream, 96% miss meetings, 95% miss parts of meetings, 73% brought other work to meetings, 39% dozed during meetings

A few key principles to consider:

OT:  Begin and End on Time It sounds simple, and yet, for some strange reason, this simple principle is not regularly followed. Start on time, end on time. It is frequently the case that we want to "give everyone a few extra minutes to dial-in or arrive" when others have made it a point to be on time and in place for the meeting start. Start the meeting and allow others to be late. Do not re-hash what has already been covered - they can find time after the meeting to pick up what they have missed.

I am certainly not perfect on this subject and have tried to make it part of my DNA when leading meetings and working sessions. I start right on the time set for the meeting. I also work to manage scope creep during the meeting so we have our best shot at accomplishing the set agenda in the time scheduled. If we are going to run out of time, I schedule a follow-up discussion. Acknowledge the value of others' time by being on-time.

Bottom Line:  On time, every time

OT/IF:  Value Commitments It had been on my calendar for a month. A ½ day working session starting at noon with one of our business partners. Several on my team would also be attending and I decided to fit in a second meeting that morning which if all worked "perfectly," I would still make it on time to the partner meeting. The reality was that I was 45 minutes late to the partner's working session. My being late after committing to being there at a specific date and time, could easily be misconstrued as rude, selfless, feeling that my time was more valuable, that I had placed a higher priority on another group, etc. The reason this bothers me so much is that it could have been avoided. When you commit, make sure it fits your calendar and that you build in buffer to ensure you can truly be, on time.

Juggling priorities can be fun and enjoyable as long as you are not short-changing the relationship - not giving your full self to each.

Bottom Line:  When you commit, make it fit

IF:  Choose It and Lose It It is so difficult to NOT check your Blackberry, iPhone, or laptop email in meetings. I have certainly been guilty of this sin over time and yet, I have come to appreciate when others are "fully" engaged in meetings - so much more gets accomplished, so many more ideas are shared, so many more relationships are moved to the next level. Respect of others is gained by giving your full energy and attention. What's the point of attending a meeting if all you are going to do is email?

Choose it and lose it - choose to check out in meetings, lose credibility with others in the meeting. Choose to do your emails while others are working through a deliverable, lose their respect. Do it often enough, and become the brunt of jokes and lowered engagement expectations - a major hit to the value of your personal brand.

Bottom Line:  Choose to be "In Full"

IF:  Be Prepared Several months ago, I received a cold call from a Business Development rep at a technology consulting firm looking to explore how they could get engaged with our organization. Cold calls are interesting in that many agencies, firms and individuals do very little homework prior to meeting and are hoping for a quick sale. This time, the call was different. The team had done their homework. Knew me and the organization. Had proposed challenges they thought we might be facing - relevant challenges. They were looking to build a relationship - not find a quick dollar.

What I liked most about this firm and specifically, their people, was that they showed up on the first call "in full." To the first meeting "in full." Had really taken time to consider a partnership. To do their homework. To listen and learn - then apply solutions and products that might fit our culture and related challenges.

Bottom Line:  Success is when preparation meets opportunity.

A quick test to consider - if you were going to rank yourself on the OTIF scale from 1 to 10, where would you fit?  1 = always late and typically unprepared. 10 = always early/on time and prepared most/all of the time. How would you score the members of your team? How would you score the team as a whole? Even better, how would you score the organization?

Fun exercise...and enlightening!