A client sent me an email a while back asking; "What's the trick for going fast, doing the right thing and actually succeeding in my business and in my team leadership?"
Great question. This calls on some important leadership skills. The essence of the answer is in "...doing the right thing." This comes from being clear about your objectives. What really defines success for you? What are the right things for you? What do you want your team leadership style, your business and your life to be like?
You want to invest some time to clarify these things so when an opportunity presents itself you can quickly evaluate it relative to your objectives. Does it move you towards them? If so, then act...now! If, not, let it go.
Here are some specifics:
- Put your objectives in writing. What do you intend to accomplish? The discipline of putting them in writing will help you be clear on what you want.
For example, if "Becoming the CEO of the company" is one of your objectives don't be shy, write it down. Think big!
By the way, I have found that for me, doing this with pen and paper works better than a keyboard and computer. Feels more real and committed.
- Develop a short list of criteria (six or seven) that define a valuable step towards you objectives.
For example, a few of my criteria are: 1) the opportunity furthers my progress towards more than just one of my objectives. 2) The opportunity furthers the leverage of my personal time. 3) The opportunity has a low cost of entry. I have a few others, but this gives you the idea.
- Evaluate each opportunity against your criteria. Does it still seem like a good idea?
This next step is critical. Without it you risk getting nowhere...and spending a lot of time doing it!
Develop a short list of what we call Probability of Success (POS) criteria. These will help you determine how likely it is you can successfully capitalize on a given opportunity.
A few of my POS criteria are: 1) I have a strength in this area or I can easily pay for that strength at a reasonable price. 2) It is simple to manage. If it is too complex to stay on top of...I won't! 3) I am interested in it. This is a big one for me. If I'm not interested I will not stay focused even if it’s profitable. A lesson learned the hard way...many times over!
- Give a rating (1 to 5, 1 to 10, whatever you want) to each Value criteria. Do the same for each POS criteria.
Obviously, you want to act on those opportunities with both high value and high POS. There are some subtleties of what to do if you have something with high value and low POS, perhaps I’ll write about that in a future post. Once you have your criteria set you can do this analysis very quickly.
- The final issue to consider is time. Do you have the time necessary to work the opportunity?
Time as a zero-sum deal. Everybody I know is as busy as they can possibly be. Therefore, to do something new you have to stop doing something you are currently doing. Or you have to streamline your processes to take less time to do what you are currently doing.
Time cannot be manufactured. You only get it in trade.
You can spend 100’s, even 1,000’s, of dollars on management training and not pick up secrets like these. I have seen this approach work unbelievably well for individual leaders and their teams and for entire organizations.
With preparation and discipline it is possible to go fast, do the right things and have fantastic business results!