“Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought into a focus.” – Alexander Graham Bell
Today’s topic isn’t new, but it never gets old either. Leaders everywhere feel like they don’t have enough time. They show up for work, work hard all day long, and at the end of the day quite often feel like they haven’t really accomplished anything.
There are lots of reasons for that. Right now, so many businesses are lacking capacity that everyone is busy just making surely daily stuff gets done. Most businesses have become almost completely reactionary, worried entirely about putting out whatever fire started that day.
There’s more to it than that, though. I see too many leaders using a lack of capacity or a turbulent environment as an excuse. For a great number of leaders, the reason they run around all day being busy and never accomplishing meaningful things is that they have absolutely no focus.
It’s not that they’ve purposefully been that way. They just won’t take the time to really understand what matters in their business and what they really need to spend their time doing. They think they need to be busy doing ‘real work’, and some of the most important work they should be doing – clearly defining vision and strategy – falls by the wayside.
Ask yourself as a leader: Does my business have a clear, compelling vision of its future? Unfortunately, if most of you are honest, you’ll have a hard time saying ‘yes’ to that question. So start thinking about it right now as you read this. What do you really want your business to look like in 3 or 5 or 10 years? Why will it exist? Whom will it serve? How will it provide value to its customers, its employees, and its community?
Some of you are probably thinking that sounds wonderful, if only you had time to stop and think. News flash: you don’t have time not to stop and think. If you aren’t taking time on a regular basis to think about the future, then you’re failing in one of your primary roles as a leader. None of the day to day minutiae you’re currently filling your time with is even remotely as important as thinking about what’s next for your business.
So if you accomplish nothing else in 2023, at least spend the time you need to create that vision of where your business is going. It might feel like you’re not doing any ‘real work’, but understanding where you want to be as an organization will allow you to focus on what really matters. And then you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.