The number one reason why senior leadership teams don’t focus on more strategic things is…..
“There isn’t enough time.”
This came up this week, and that came up last week. Yada, yada, yada.
No wonder senior leadership teams struggle so much to do little more than information sharing.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Information sharing is important. But, there are more important things that senior leadership teams should be PRIMARILY focused on – such as making the consequential decisions that impact their organization (their department, business unit, or company depending on the level of the senior leadership team).
The reality, though, is that for senior leadership teams to make the consequential decisions that impact their organization, they need to spend time together. They need time to engage in the dialogue and debate that it takes to get committed to decisions.
And, most people don’t have the time in their schedules to add something new.
So, the real question to answer is….
“What will you give up?” or better said, “What will you stop doing?”
Here’s a simple model to help you determine where you are spending your time and what to stop doing. I found this concept outlined in The Accidental Sales Manager and made some modifications.
The model below outlines 4 levels of tasks or activities you may be involved in as a manager.
Level 1 activities are “Non Management Tasks” and include things like:
Maintain status as top “doer”
Handle detailed work that is similar or the same as your team members
Responsible for big parts of projects
Solving team members’ problems
Level 2 activities are “Other Management Tasks” and include things like:
Project task management
Monitor project status
Conduct project meetings
Handle customer complaints
Communicate with management
Level 3 activities are “People and Team Development Tasks” and include things like:
Level 4 activities are Strategic “Planning and Thinking Tasks” and include things like:
Defining goals for the organization
Managing consistency across the teams
Focusing resources on the right tasks
Creating a collective road map
Level 1 tasks tend to be things that you were good at prior to being promoted into a management position. The trap is getting caught up in these tasks instead of what you should be doing as a manager.
Level 2 items are generally “urgent.” They are the firefighting that you do on a day-to-day basis, and, while they are often necessary, they don’t expand or duplicate your abilities.
Levels 3 and 4 are where effective leaders spend most of their time because this is where they are able to make the most impact. These are the type of activities that multiply their affect on an organization.
So, the question every leader should ask is – what will I stop doing?
Do you want to stop spending so much time at Levels 1 and 2 and more at Levels 3 and 4?
If so, then schedule that time at the beginning of your week. Otherwise those urgent tasks from Levels 1 and 2 will fill in the void.
Sal Silvester is the founder and president of 5.12 Solutions (five-twelve) and author of The Ultimate Goal Setting Guide and the forthcoming book Ignite! The 4 Essential Rules for Emerging Leaders. Sal has a unique perspective on team development and leadership gained through his experience over the past 17 years as an Army Officer, an executive at Accenture, and founder of 5.12 Solutions. He has led and managed teams in the desert of Kuwait, the mountains of Turkey, and in the offices of many clients on process improvement, organizational change, and training projects.