Three Steps to Improve Focus and Results
A common theme among entrepreneurial business leaders is the importance of time (in particular, their time). It’s been said that the “the paradox of time is that we have all there is.” How is it then that there never seems to be enough?
As the organization’s leader goes through the business day, there are all manner of potential distractions; team members, customers, suppliers, and others are constantly pulling at the proverbial sleeve of the leader looking for information, advice, permission, input, etc. It can often seem like too much of the leader’s time is spent cleaning up messes and completing (or doing) staff work which can and should be handled at other levels of the organization.
A key question is this:
As the leader, how will you deploy your most valuable, precious resource: your time?
The answer may be found in a direct assessment of the unique abilities of the leader and what the organization needs that only (and I do mean only) the leader can provide. These requirements form the focus items which demand time and attention. The rest of the stuff is, well, just stuff!
Here are three steps to get started in the direction of a more focused, results oriented work method.
First, identify your unique abilities and strengths. Business owners may find their first inclination is to think these extend through all areas of the business. While this may be true at the owner-operator phase it becomes less so as the enterprise advances in its growth trajectory.
Second, match these unique strengths with the needs of the business, with a particular focus on what it needs from the CEO/leader. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary, expect to find that spending time with key customers is on the list. Customers like to hear from the owner, irrespective of the nature of the organization’s customer facing strategy.
Third, capture these CEO/leader responsibilities on a work sheet, and match them up with annual and quarterly goals (measurable) with specifically identified outcomes (results). Use this as a platform for building a weekly work plan including team meetings and “focus time.”
The arduous work will be found not in deciding what to do, but what to stop doing. There are likely many items on the leader’s activity inventory that do not belong there. Pushing them out or downward in the organization will take discipline and time. Stay with it.
For more information and a sample worksheet for capturing and prioritizing responsibilities and goals, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joseph P. Truncale, Ph.D., CAE, is the Founder and Principal of Alexander Joseph Associates, a privately held consultancy specializing in executive business advisory services with clients throughout the graphic communications industry.
Joe spent 30 years with NAPL, including 11 years as President and CEO. He is an adjunct professor at NYU teaching graduate courses in Executive Leadership; Financial Management and Analysis; Finance for Marketing Decisions; and Leadership: The C Suite Perspective. He may be reached at Joe@ajstrategy.com. Phone or text: (201) 394-8160.