A common complaint of senior executives is that they don’t have enough time. Particularly they don’t have enough time to focus on thinking strategically. There seems always to be a deluge of things that are important – often defined by others. In parallel there is often a clichéd demand to achieve more with less.
Here are two thoughts to help. Firstly define your main-effort. This is a planning device used by the military to help align activity through the organization by being very clear about what is the most important thing. You can think of it as the lead domino in a stack – if you knock this one over all the others follow. We all have a lot of important things but being very clear about the main thing, is a great device for creating clarity and therefore focus of effort.
The second tool is what Brigadier John Ridge CBE, the Chief of Joint Force Operations, who recently commanded the UKs response to Hurricane Irma calls ‘Nightclub Rules’. He defines this as one in one out. For every new idea or plan, something else gets stopped or dropped. Similar to the idea of a main effort, one in one out, forces you to be clear about priorities.
Defining what is important is equally about what is not important. What do we choose not to do in order to focus.
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