Do this today, lead better tomorrow
Wednesday, February 07, 2018
Even strong leaders need to recalibrate occasionally. Whether it is a head-clearing weekend getaway or an out-of-office conference, taking a physical break from the workspace can recharge our minds and reinspire our thinking.
However, what if getting away is not practical? Here are a few steps you can take today, so you can lead better tomorrow.
Clear the decks
As noted previously, successful leaders control their time. Yet, somehow, items less aligned with our true priorities slip into our calendar.
To stay streamlined, stop and scrub the calendar. If it helps, act as if something incredibly important came up and you had to clear the calendar to handle it. (It doesn’t have to be a negative emergency: imagine a board member, investor or critical client needs something done.)
With this higher priority event in mind, delegate, remove or abbreviate everything on the calendar and to-do list for tomorrow. Then, block the time so it cannot be refilled.
Set an intention
Now, get clear — again — on the priorities for 2018. Get all goals in place, whether it is a formal strategic plan, a Post-It or a list in the back of your head, get clear on what it is that you want to accomplish this year.
If for some reason, the annual goal-setting process never happened, then answer this question: How will I know this year was better than last year? With that in mind, figure out what a day looks like that represents that accomplishment, victory or state of mind.
For example, if you know this year is better because you have higher revenue and can provide employees with lunch once a week, then buy everyone lunch tomorrow. If it is that you have better work/life balance because you are in 30 minutes later and home 30 minutes earlier, then make that happen tomorrow. Or if it is simply that you landed a target client, then set up an informal brainstorming session with food and drink, and talk to key employees to get creative ideas and develop a plan to make that happen.
With a clear calendar, make tomorrow look like the kind of day the most successful you would have.
Last, but not least
Realize that the most critical step in this process is to understand that you are the biggest obstacle to making this happen. Old habits, failing to take this seriously, lack of diligence — all sorts of things will lead you to want to add a few things back to the calendar or take a few side steps just to knock some stuff off the to-do list. After all, look at all that time on the calendar to get things done.
Don't do it. Acknowledge that taking control of the day, ensuring it is aligned with what is truly important and then making it happen is critical to achieving your goals.
Doing this today will help you be a better leader tomorrow. As a leader, it is better to be in a position of calm control — something that cannot be done when so much time is spent putting out fires or distracted with busy work.
This exercise helps keep the focus on the bigger picture by tying it to the seemingly small things that happen every day. Eventually, the stronger the connection is for us, the easier it will be for our employees to make the connection between what they do and why it matters to the organization.
That kind of alignment will ensure a successful year.
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