You are in the weeds, again.
And it feels defeating.
Leading is more complex than ever, and each time you think you are getting on top of things, the speed of business accelerates, again. What is it costing you? What is it costing your company?
You aren’t the only leader suffering from this quicksand. Don’t give up. There is a way out – and up.
Michael sighed and sat back in his chair.
“I’m finally on top of my emails – but the executive team isn’t. This means I’m not getting the responses I need for us to move forward. And then, we haven’t taken next steps in the Alchem Initiative, and we are now two quarters behind. I’m the hold-up there. Not enough time because we are playing catch up everywhere else.”
“Michael,” I leaned forward. “This sounds disorganized. You must be frustrated.”
“I am. I’m frustrated. Exhausted,” he replied. “Leading this company has a pretty low ROI to it these days.”
“Here’s what I’m noticing,” I said. “We’ve had this conversation before.”
“What are you saying?” he asked.
“I’m saying it’s time to get out of the weeds. For good.”
Step One: To Get Out of the Weeds, Bring Focus to What Matters
“Let’s begin by bringing focus to what matters most,” I said. “This is the first of five critical steps we need to take in order to get out of the weeds and stay out of the weeds!”
The first thing that Michael and I did was sit down together to review company goals and objectives, and to identify priorities for the ensuing 12 months. With some careful conversation, we crafted a vision for the year, and pinpointed the business impact this would have on the business.
“It feels good to recapture clarity around what’s important,” said Michael. “But I’m growing concerned. I realize that we are working on many things that don’t actually support the company in what matters. And if that’s the case, we are not only losing money by not doing what matters, we are also losing it by spending it on what doesn’t matter!”
Michael and I spend the rest of the morning defining the business impact. Quantifiably, if Michael and the team focused on what matters, this would put the company on a path to increase revenue and footprint significantly within two years.
“If we can do this, our competitors will stop running circles around us. That gives me great satisfaction. And on an equally serious note, my board will start placing more trust in me. I’ve lost a lot of ground there with not delivering on what I promise.”
“You are indeed at a critical juncture,” I responded. “It’s time to roll up our sleeves.”
“So, what’s next?” Michael asked.
“We’ve gained good clarity on what matters, but this is indeed just the first step. Now, we need to align and coordinate your executive team around this. This is where we will see what it really means to make this course-correction.”
“Although this sounds challenging,” answered Michael, “I can’t turn back, now. We’ve just uncovered millions of dollars and opportunity to be had.”
What is your own lack of focus costing you and your company?
Stay tuned, Reader, to learn how Michael took the next step to align and coordinate his team – and how it surfaced some pretty troubling culture and behavioral challenges.
© Patti Cotton and patticotton.com. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express written permission from the author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that attribution is made to Patti Cotton and patticotton.com, with links thereto.
Patti Cotton helps executives optimize their effectiveness in leading self, others, and the enterprise. Her areas of focus include confidence, leadership style, executive presence, effective communication, succession planning, and masterful execution. With over 25 years of leadership experience, both stateside and abroad, Patti works with individuals, teams, and organizations across industries, providing executive consulting, leadership development, succession planning, change management, and conflict resolution. She is also an experienced Fortune 500 speaker. For more information on how Patti Cotton can help you and your organization, click here.
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