So I sat on the curb in the middle of the night with my three girls.

And no one came to tell us what was going on or when we could expect to get back to bed.

Frankly, I wasn’t surprised.

Oftentimes, we miss opportunities to lead that seem obvious later. Of course, it seems reasonable to expect that a representative from the hotel would come outside to tell everyone what was happening. Common sense, right?

But it didn’t happen. Why not? Although I can’t know for sure, here is my one best idea, and some suggestions to apply in your workplace.

It’s not part of the plan. I assume that employees that hotel have a procedure to follow in emergency situations. There may be phone calls to make, areas of the hotel to secure. When the alarm sounded, it is likely that the employees present followed the protocol. My guess, though, is that communication with guests is not part of the plan. So it didn’t happen.

When making a difference in the lives of others is a part of the plan, we think beyond procedures and protocols to add value to others. Organizations can’t include every possible positive action in their policy manuals. Instead, they need leaders at all levels who can think beyond following protocol to find a path to greatness.

Plan to lead. Making a difference starts with having a plan to positively influence others. It’s an attitude, a mindset, and an intention. With a plan to lead, you will view every situation as an opportunity to add value to others. More than that, you will look for and find those opportunities.

But it all starts with a plan.

Join the conversation!

Can you think of any other reasons why the hotel employees did not choose to communicate with us?

What can you do to help others understand the need to plan beyond policies and procedures?

Is leading a part of your plan?

This was originally posted at Mountain State University LeaderTalk and is re-posted with permission.