It’s that time of year. For many businesses, the summer months mean a more relaxed mindset. Many of your colleagues and clients are enjoying well-deserved vacation time and the resulting pace of business operations is decidedly slower. But with September upon us next week, it’s not just children gearing up to get back to it; there is a new energy in the air across the business community as well. Reenergized and refreshed, teams are ready to head back to business.
As an organization, September is a great time to complete a progress check on strategic and annual plans, ensuring that adjustments or shifts in prioritization occur now. Next, with a clear direction established, leaders should spend time aligning the proper resources to key priorities. Lastly, in order to do these things effectively, it is helpful to review time management and organization best practices so that you are operating at optimal efficiency. In this issue of Engaging in Leadership, we share some tips for how to harness the energy of the new season including revisiting your strategy, getting organized and ensuring successful execution.
REVISIT YOUR PLAN
In the Harvard Business Review article “Strategic Plans are Less Important than Strategic Planning”, Graham Kenny explores the importance of the planning process within organizations. Based on over twenty-five years’ experience in facilitating the process, he provides four fundamental principles that have evolved out of fresh thinking in the area, including treating the plan as a guidance tool, seeking disagreement and future thinking, focusing on the organization and key stakeholders, and assuming the plan is a work in progress.
Whether undertaking the strategic planning process for the first time or revisiting the plan currently in place, it is the process itself that is critical to keeping your business relevant. In an ever-evolving business environment, it is important to remember that the strategic plan is a fluid document, often requiring updates and adjustments in response to factors out of our control. Taking ‘pulse checks’ at regular intervals ensures that the organization is measuring strategic performance, results and relevancy.
See: Strategic Plans are Less Important than Strategic Planning
As many professionals are heading back to business, the volume of work and speed of pace increases in the fall season. As such, it’s a good time to consider how productive you are. In the article “10 Effective Strategies for Boosting Your Efficiency and Productivity”, Thai Nguyen offers innovative yet practical work strategies to assist you in achieving better results every day.
One unique theory, the “Parkinson’s Law”, suggests adjusting timelines to maximize efficiency under the premise that the longer you have to get something done, the longer it will take. Another interesting tip is the “52 and 17”. Based on one company’s research, this rule is how the most productive colleagues found the best balance of work and rest. Other great reminders shared by Nguyen include scheduling work to your own natural circadian rhythm, being mindful of your body language, and power posing.
See: 10 Effective Strategies for Boosting Your Efficiency and Productivity
In this quick-hitting and succinct piece targeted at organization leaders, Ariana Ayu provides effective time management tips that are easily applied every day. With a seemingly unlimited volume of tasks to tackle daily, it is critical to protect your time and focus on activities where the value you bring as a leader is really added to the organization. This concept is based on identifying your “Areas of Genius”, which allows you to focus primarily on profitable activities.
The article concentrates on managing your calendar to accommodate both major priorities and lower value tasks that must be done. Ayu suggests, “you know your time-sucks: social media, email, etc… whatever wastes your time the most (but must be done) should be done at the end of the day. This way you are not wasting valuable, productive time on things that are not profitable, important or in your genius.”
See: 10 Time Management Tips for Busy Executives