If after all these years of leading your team, you still say things like “I’m totally slammed this week” or “I’m working weekends just to get by,” you are doing something wrong.
If this sounds harsh, it is meant to challenge you to truly evaluate the way you run your business, and make changes that allow you to work ON your business and stop working FOR your business. Here are some signs that this is your issue also:
- Are you often late to meetings or appointments?
- Do you stay long after the last employee has gone home?
- Do you have days where your time belongs to everyone else but you?
- Is every issue an emergency and you spend your day putting out fires?
- Are you frustrated that things have not moved forward like you expected?
- Do you set goals and don’t hit them – or worse – do you not even have goals?
Hard work is necessary to start a BUSINESS, smart work is needed to grow it into a COMPANY, and focused work is needed to build it into an ORGANIZATION.
Contrary to some beliefs, we don’t work better under stress – we just work faster. The quality of the work is often worse than it would be if it were done under the proper conditions. The pressure to get things done is good, but stress comes when you are not in control of the situation. Most employees say having a good “Boss” can make or break their job, and as the leader of your team, you set the tone for everyone else.
This month, the members of Renaissance Executive Forums Dallas will be focusing on the topic of Time Management in our monthly meeting. Regardless of the number of years they’ve led their company, or how many Millions of dollars their business generates each year, all of them are focused on accomplishing their goals in a timely manner, and this was the topic we needed to focus on.
I have found that most leaders know what to do, they just can’t seem to get it done. There are many reasons why this happens, and one reason is poor planning. So, for the sake of good time management, we’ll address just one issue today – Planning.
There are three key areas I suggest you focus on in order to develop a lifestyle of proper planning. This applies to your work and your personal life; as one area is never good, when the other is not taken care of. These three areas are Setting Goals, Tracking Them, Being Accountable.
Set Goals – In life, we are often distracted by the “Tyranny of the Urgent” type issues that pop up and leave behind the important ones. This increases the size of your “To Do” list and keeps you from accomplishing the things that will truly help you reach your goals on time. As Zig Ziglar once said, “It’s not about a lack of time but a lack of direction.” (click this photo to see video)
You have a lot on your mind and you need to have a clear and compelling vision of where you are leading your team in order to know what needs to be done, and the order in which it should be done.
Often we see our team members doing SOMETHING for the sake of doing something, but not really knowing where they are going or where they want to be. They feel that if they do enough of SOMETHING long enough, then they are sure to get somewhere. It just may not be where you wanted them to go.
For example, if you want to “grow” your company, you need to have goals in mind that will direct the team efforts. These would be a few things to consider:
- How much Growth?
- Over what period of time?
- In what market?
- With what products or services?
- Is it Top-line or Bottom-line growth, or both?
- What does the team need to do in order to handle this growth?
By knowing where you are going, and getting your team onboard with your plans, you can set clear goals everyone can follow.
Track Tasks – Written goals are essential for success. If you don’t have a plan in writing that everyone can follow, your team can easily lose direction and delay your results. Most people have heard about setting SMART goals, so I won’t list them here, but this is a link that will refresh your memory about the definition of SMART goals. Once you have these goals laid out, you can create projects and tasks for each team member to follow in order to reach your goals in a timely manner. This is what should drive the work of your team, and it needs to be written down and tracked so you can see the progress, offer help where needed, and praise for successes.
I use a “TOP 5″ sheet that I picked up during my days with US Leadership. This is the engine that move my goals into actions. The real value is not just filling out the sheet, but how it fills out your calendar each week. I have tasks and projects that I want to complete for both my personal and business life. These are written lout in my weekly TOP 5 so I keep on target with deadlines, and meet my goals.
Let your goals and tasks determine what your calendar looks like, and not the other way around. This way you’ll never have to say “I just didn’t have time to get it done this week.” I also review them with others so we hold each other accountable.
Be accountable – As leaders, we tend to give ourselves a break when we don’t do what we’re supposed to. We show up late, change our own plans and deadlines, ignore the policies and procedures we insist others follow, and no one can tell us we’re wrong. (I know that’s not you. I’m talking about other people of course.)
This is why people pay someone to be a Life Coach or Business Consultant, even though they already know what they should be doing. I once met with a group of business leaders who have been in a peer group of Owners and CEO’s of very successful companies. As I shared the model of REF Dallas with them, one said to me in front of the group “I’d pay you a $1,000 a month just to hold me accountable.” Here was a group that has been together for 10 years but they’d lost one of the key values of a peer group, Accountability. Find someone who you will allow yourself to be truly accountable to, and then be transparent with them so they can help you lead with excellence.
This is one of the great values of being in our Top Executive Forum. Our members share experiences that motivate each other to find new methods for growth, insights for change, resources to reach their goals faster, and the accountability be the best leader they can be. I love being in the room with these successful leaders and seeing the support and encouragement they provide each other. This may be just what YOU need to make this year as successful as you hope it will be.
Contact our Dallas office to set a time to go over a TOP 5 program for your team, and learn more about being a part of our Top Executive Group at (469) 269 – 5148 or info@REFDallas.com.
*If you prefer to see things on video, I created a video a few years ago that shows how I use the TOP 5 sheet, and you can watch on YouTube by clicking on the photo here. I must admit it is not the most exciting video I ever made but it will show you how the Top 5 system works, and you get to hear my soothing voice. Maybe watch it before bed time with a nice glass of wine.