“It takes something more than intelligence to act intelligently.” – Fyodor Dostoevsky
One of the things that leaders are most proud of is their work ethic. If you talk to most leaders long enough, at some point they’ll mention how hard they’re working. And for the most part, they are working hard.
The question that not enough of them ask themselves is “What am I actually doing while I’m working hard?” In other words, are you working hard doing the right things? No one would ever want to admit that the stuff they’re working on is irrelevant, or doesn’t have much of an impact, or maybe even shouldn’t be done. So we avoid the question in case we don’t like the answer.
Bad idea. How leaders spend their time is one of the most important success factors for any business. It’s impossible for a business to be wildly successful if the leader isn’t doing stuff that really matters. Unfortunately, too many leaders are just doing the same things they’ve always done because, well, that’s what they’ve always done.
Take a few minutes today and make a list of the most important things you should be doing as a leader. The list shouldn’t be very long. Not everything can be the most important. Think about what things you should be doing that would really move the needle for your business, or that would really drive improved results.
Maybe it involves being more strategic. Maybe it involves building certain relationships. Maybe it involves developing certain people. Maybe it involves having a really difficult conversation. It doesn’t have to be some overwhelming huge thing. The most important things we do aren’t always the ones that take the longest.
Whatever those most important things are, why aren’t you doing them now? What’s getting in the way? Fear? Poor time management? The fact that you’ve never really thought about what’s important? Think about what the barriers are and put together a plan to break through them.
You have a limited amount of time and energy. Neither you nor the organization you lead can afford to have you wasting either. Think about what’s really critical for you to be doing, and then start doing it. There’s no time like the present to get started.