A couple of weeks ago I presented to a great group of people at the Institute of Chartered Accountants for India, Annual Conference. I spoke about how to fast track your leadership, and in particular focused on the three dimensions of leadership.
- First leading yourself
- Leading others
- and thirdly, Leading the situation.
One of the most important points that I found really resonated with this group was the concept of leading yourself first. In particular, choosing exactly where to put your efforts and energy.
It was quite eye opening to see people really recognize that they, in order to have impact in their very senior roles, to influence at the highest level, and to really be leading, they actually needed to get their own house in order.
They needed to choose how to spend their time on those high-impact, value adding activities. To make that great choice so that they could actually make a difference in their role, rather than just doing the same old operational busyness that we often get sucked into.
I just want to refresh that here and give you a couple of quick pointers that will help you to really choose how to spend your time each and every day at work, because that choice is what’s going to make the difference between whether you do the same as usual, and it’s kind of satisfactory, or whether you are actually able to make a difference, have a high impact, and really focus on the strategic elements of your role that really create those opportunities for yourself, for your team, for your organization.
Are you just reacting to the noise around you?
Let’s make good choices early and often. How do you do this? Well, there’s lots of things I talk about. Steven Covey’s Time Management Matrix and making great choices about not just focusing on the urgent things, but focusing on the high-impact is one of them. This means using a combination of urgency and impact to decide where to spend ourselves.
What I’d like to do is to keep it really simple, and I need for you to think about answering this one question every day and even sometimes in the moment:
What’s the most important thing that I should be doing right now?
If you can answer that question for yourself, then you can make really great choices when people come and interrupt you, and they try and get you involved in what is a priority for them but maybe not a priority for you.
Continue to ask yourself that question. Check in regularly ‘What’s the most important thing for me to be doing right now?’. If you get into the habit of doing that everyday or a couple of times a day, you’ll find yourself focused on the things that strategically are going to add value and make an impact.
Good luck and I look forward to hearing how it goes for you.