Recently I’ve been coaching some terrific people ranging in roles from owners of small business through to managers and supervisors in large organisations. While industries, experience and size of business have differed, a common thread has emerged. Seventy percent have lacked clarity, despite the intent to achieve being exemplary. This manifests into to feelings of frustration while limiting the ability to lead and reach potential.
It hasn’t been a situation where the individuals haven’t understood what to do because they’re all very clever. It’s that they’ve let themselves get caught up in too much day to day busyness to be able to do anything about it because they’re already working long hours. Dissatisfaction has led to the realisation that clarity is the bigger issue – where to focus to get the best return on outcomes.
It’s not uncommon for white collar leaders to find themselves in this position because open door policies have somehow become always open to interruption. This is partly due to technology having us virtually always accessible and open plan working environments without offices to physically close a door. But the reality is if leaders don’t set aside time to lead and mentor their team and work on the more strategic side of their role, then it’s unlikely they’ll find time to do it.
Four suggestions to reduce “the noise” while increasing focus and clarity on what's important are:
Become super-efficient – This includes reducing the level of interruptions and being able to process work quickly and right first time. Without efficiency, it’s hard to realise outcomes in a timely manner.
Focus on what's important – Attention needs to be on the necessary work to be successful in your role. See 80% of your task list shouldn’t be there
Have a plan and a schedule – Proactive leaders plan and schedule when work will be done. This is where real clarity begins.
Execute – Have the discipline to action the schedule. This is hard to achieve without efficiency.
Clarity has a massive impact on our ability to succeed, yet people often don’t realise this when they’re stuck in a busy mindset. To address the situation an intervention with a coach or mentor might be the best investment to make because the challenge is embedding behaviours into a daily working rhythm that supports the individual to do their best work.