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 keep up,” 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. I work with Owners and CEO’s through our monthly CEO Peer Advisory Groups in Dallas and I know that everyone can be better at managing their time. See if you can relate to any of these Time Management indicators.
- 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 don’t even have goals anymore?
“Hard work is necessary to start a BUSINESS. Smart work is needed to grow it into a COMPANY. Focused work is needed to build it into an ORGANIZATION.” – Robert Hunt
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 can be good, but stress comes when you don’t have a clear vision and are not in control of the situation (click photo of Harold Taylor to see what I mean.)
Most employees say having a good Boss can make or break their job, so as the leader of your team, you set the tone and example for everyone else. Members of Renaissance Executive Forums Dallas focused on the topic of Time Management in our monthly meeting so I thought I’d share some of the key points with you.
Regardless of the number of years they’ve led their company, or how many Millions of dollars their business generates each year, they all struggled to stay focused on accomplishing their goals in a timely manner. Most leaders know what to do, they just can’t seem to get it done. One of the key reasons 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; Setting Goals, Tracking Them, Being Accountable. This applies to your work and your personal life because one area is never good when the other is not taken care of.
In life, we are often distracted by the “Tyranny of the Urgent” type issues that try to distract us away from what matters most. 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 photo to see video)
Having a Clear and Compelling vision of where you are leading your team allows everyone to see what needs to be done, and the order in which it should be done. Team members can stay busy doing SOMETHING for the sake of doing something, but not really knowing where they are going or what success looks like in the end.
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, and be accountable to.
Written goals are essential for success. If you don’t have a plan in writing that everyone can follow, your team can easily loose direction and delay the results. Most people have heard about setting SMART goals, so I won’t list that 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 offer praised for successes.
I use a “Top 5” sheet that I picked up during my days with US Leadership. This is the engine that puts 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 out in my weekly TOP 5 so I keep on target with deadlines, and meet my goals. Click the photo above to see a simple video I made years ago to show you how to use this sheet.
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.” I also review my Top 5 with a couple other business owners each week to hold each other accountable. Contact me to learn how to use the Top 5 if this seems like the type of system you would like for your team.
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 that 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 one of the reasons leaders here in DFW pay me to provide Business Coaching for themselves and their teams. It is also why they join our Renaissance Executive Forums Peer Advisory Groups. I once met with a group of business leaders who were 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 his 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 advisory 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 CEO Peer Group. 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 each month 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 me to set a time to go over a TOP 5 program for your team, and to learn more about being a part of our Peer to Peer Advisory Groups at (469) 269-5148 or RobertH@REFdallas.com.
by Robert Hunt
I am a Business Owner and Forum Leader for Renaissance Executive Forums Dallas. My role is to find the best members for our CEO Peer Groups, then lead each meeting so that our members become Raving Fans. You can connect with me on LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, and Facebook. You can also email me at info@REFDallas.com or call me at (469) 269-5148.