Where Should You Spend Your Time?
… Our ability to become better leaders increases when we assess how we spend our time …
Whether a Fortune 500 executive or a solopreneur, deciding “Where should I spend my time?” is the most important decision a leader makes. And all leaders make this decision, either by design or default. However, leaving it to default i.e., by working on whatever happens to be in front of you at the moment … is a risky decision. Such default decision making results in your business or operation running you, rather than you running your business. To mitigate this risk leaders must evaluate where they are spending their time, and then decide where they should spend their time, in order to add the most value. Using the simple “My Time” model below, a leader can quickly make this important decision.
As you can see, there are three key areas where leaders can spend their time – strategy, operations and people. However, leaders seldom spend their time equally among all three. Leaders must balance short-term objectives with long-term goals, and then decide where they can add the most value. They must also consider what they are really good at, what they like to do versus what they need to do, and what they must let go of to keep moving forward – keeping in mind there are always tradeoffs! Use the model to assess and decide how to add the most value by asking the following questions:
– Are the fundamental building blocks of the business (vision, mission, guiding beliefs, value proposition) clear to you, your team and key constituents, prospects and customers?
– How do you know?
– Are you connecting frequently with customers and prospects?
– How often do you talk about future opportunities, challenges and potential change?
– Are you keeping everyone “in the loop”, “on board”, and fully engaged in where the organization is going?
Keep in mind – without clarity and understanding of strategy, the time you spend on other work activities could be fruitless.
– Do we have clear repeatable systems and processes in place for customer acquisition,
customer fulfillment, financial control and organization support?
– Do we have appropriate measures in place for the above systems and processes?
– Are the right people in place to perform the above systems and processes most effectively?
– Are bustling and challenging operations an impediment to strategic thinking?
Keep in mind – this is where productivity and quality happen; or, if not, where errors and problems occur. Leaders who monitor operations rather than getting into the “weeds” with running operations, build and maintain momentum for success.
– Do team members care about the organization as much as you do?
– Are you in-tune with what people are saying and expecting of you?
– Is your team in-tune with what you are saying and expecting of them?
– Does your team know they are as important as your customers?
Keep in mind – an organization is only as good as the people that support it. Continuous development and empowerment of people will ensure an organization will survive, grow and prosper.
After answering the above questions and considering the need to integrate strategy, operations and people, it will likely become quite clear where you should spend your time; although it may not be easy to do so. However, the decision is yours – and that will make all the difference.
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