It’s critical for company leaders to understand and simplify complex problems and then determine long-term goals and plans for addressing them. Long-term context is challenging, though short-term minutiae can be equally daunting.
This is especially true in fast-moving companies, where there is far less distance (if any) between the people doing strategy and the people executing. Dynamic organizations also tend to have many people juggling many things. Positive momentum can introduce enticing external opportunities. Unfortunately, these are most often distractions that impede day-to-day execution.
Of course, the key is to be deliberate and focused in how you manage your time and attention toward goals — during your week, the day, the hour, and down to the minute. Few people admit it, but most people have a really hard time doing this — me included.
That’s why I’ve adopted a simple framework in which I codify critical goals and milestones for the week ahead. It’s really a one-page manifesto for the week, to help prioritize actions and tempo, track progress toward goals and communicate. I publish it weekly in a Google shared doc, and share it with immediate colleagues. Without it, I feel naked. Components include:
- Discussion topic: The single most critical discussion topic I need to be having with colleagues on the executive team that week.
- Weekly goals: Actions and deliverables I need to complete, force-ranked into three prioritized buckets of A, B and C — along with one “Main Event” line item.
- Progress & milestones: What I accomplished last week and how these accomplishments connect to larger goals.
- Travel & key meeetings: Summary of important meetings and travel out of town.
- Think: What are the one or two big, longer-term problems I’m focusing on.
This framework is not exotic, but it works and will make you more deliberate and effective. It requires some discipline and an hour of your time each week, but you’ll gain it back in efficiency. Another big benefit is that it is easily adopted by others, and is a great platform to drive team transparency and collaboration.
How do you maximize your week?
This essay also ran in MediaPost. Photo from the movie Office Space.