Caught Between Now and Then

Today’s operational crises often interfere with the strategic thinking of leaders. We can’t let that happen, except in the most unusual of circumstances.

Expediting orders is not the job of the C-level executive, nor of the VP-level. Nor even of the site manager. If the orders are late due to a systemic problem within the organization, of course those roles must be aware, and must allocate resources to identify the problem and eliminate it for the future.

The urgent is easy to see; the important often doesn’t appear with flashing lights. As leaders we must know and define the important. That certainly includes clear strategic thinking with our eyes scanning the future while identifying current ripples that could become tidal waves.

Prioritization is not easy, but every great leader is exceptionally good at it. Identifying the top priority for your business does not imply that nothing else gets done; only that the top priority is not sacrificed to accomplish those other important considerations.

Look at your schedule. Do you have time blocked — often a few days all together — to clear your mind of today’s emergencies and to think deeply about the future of your organization? Most of us don’t. We think strategically when time allows.

The obvious question is: what is your personal top priority as the lead executive?

Start with that question, then ensure your calendar supports the answer. Don’t leave the most important to chance.

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