Poor time management was the beginning of the end of my firefighting leadership style. Having received a very poor performance review because I didn’t complete my objectives, it was eye opening and liberating for me. I had fallen victim to what was easy and activity based vs. being the leader focused on moving an organization to an outcome that served our business and customers. After moving through that mindset shift, I see this behavior plagues numerous C-Suite leaders as well as those who seek the secrets to the C-Suite. Does it take an “aha moment” such as mine, or can we build those skills so you and others don’t have to struggle?
Before I move to a framework that has served me well, I do want to take a moment to help you shift your mindset if you are not yet in the C-Suite. How do you think you will get into an influential role, even if it doesn’t have a “C” in front of it? It’s by seeing yourself in that role already and behaving as if you had the position. See those above you as peers and you become the person you aspire to be. I thought I’d throw that in there, because that was a stepping stone into being a C-Suite leader myself and some of those I coach find it transformative.
Time Management Habits to move you to Strategic Leadership
- Major Mindset Shift: Ask yourself if you want to be a leader at all? If you see your value more as a firefighter than having the discipline to stay the course on strategic work, it’s okay. But your ascend into the C-suite may stop there. If you set your expectation that you will make the shift, then we can proceed.
- Decision Logic Ground Rules: What are your non-negotiables or values? In the face of making a choice between activity vs. strategic work, you need a set of rules that will help you with making good decisions. Does this work support the strategy? Does this work help someone on my team to be self-sufficient? If I make this decision, will I violate the time I want to invest in well-being? Will I sacrifice time with my family? Get these down on paper and decisions will be easier.
- Prioritization made simple: Look up Eisenhower and you’ll know how much I love this matrix. Everything that comes across your desk, assess it if it is a “Do Now”, “Do Later”, “Delegate it” or “Delete it”. It’s a lifesaver and I talk more about this on the podcast releasing later this week. I get hundreds of emails a week. I review everything and delete as much as I can. I do the urgent, I schedule important tasks into the future and others I delegate. You’ll thank me for this tip!
- Discipline is what separates you from other leaders: Let’s set a principle first; 80% is good enough in completing your daily/weekly/monthly tasks. We have to make space for urgent matters and people coming to us for help. We are not heroes, but we must be heroic in self discipline. If you have good decision logic and prioritization, you’ll find your “to do” lists getting closer and closer to 80% done as you hone these skills. As of today, Thursday I’m at 60% complete, but feel confident based on how I’ve set my schedule I can get to 80%. Discipline is a leading indicator of success in making strategic work being realized.
- Reflection: If you’ve done well, remember what worked and repeat. If you failed, be kind to yourself, but what can you change in your behavior the next week to increase your odds of being successful? You have one more chance to decide if you want to be a firefigher or evolve your Time Management Skills of a C-Suite leader.
So there you have the framework: Mindset / Decision Logic / Prioritization / Discipline / Reflection
Now is the time for you to collect your thoughts and take action.
This framework enables you to do it yourself, but I’m here for you to be a resource.
To hear more about my story about How to achieve Time Management Skills of the CEO, please tune into my podcast that is releasing this Friday 5/19/23.
Maybe you simply need a support system to apply these new insights. I find leaders simply need a place to talk through the challenges and that’s why I created The Drop In CEO Collective, a forum for C-Suite leader support. To learn more about our next event in June you can visit our page and register.
Would you rather have a quick 1-2-1 to discuss your specific challenge? Could The Drop In CEO be your support system? Direct Message me on LI or contact me via my website and let’s have a conversation. Until then, I wish you much success.