In my last post , I wrote about how we can approach planning in a way that allows for greater reflection, collaboration, and dialogue that invites creativity and innovation to the process. I know many teams that have become quite good at slowing themselves down in order to move more quickly once they are aligned.
What they, and the rest of us need to be mindful of as we plan is how much we are piling on our plates.
The planning process usually results in new “to-dos” being added to our already full lists. It’s now like we need more to do; we need to get smarter about how we spend our time, energy, and resources. Strategic planning is supposed to help us with this. What’s going on?
We aren’t in control of our diaries, calendars, and lives. That’s what’s going on! Almost every leader I’ve ever worked with spends AT LEAST 25% of their time doing the work of someone one or two levels below them. As you flash to your calendar right now, you know I’m right. Don’t try to deny it. Only you know why you do it. Reasons may include an inability to say “no”, a need to control things, a need to be seen as the one who gets s#!+ done.
We’re not going to have a deep therapy session right now to sort it out. We’re going to do some spring-cleaning. Look at your calendar for the next two weeks. How does each scheduled event support your strategic objectives? Do you really need to be at all the meetings or events in there? Who owns the process and outcome for each event? To whom could you delegate some of these tasks?
It’s time to give some stuff away. I challenge you to give away or simply cancel 20% of the meetings you have scheduled. As we add to our “to-do” lists, we need “to-don’t” lists. What are the things we are going to stop doing in order to be more successful in the new year? This question is extremely important and almost never asked during the planning process. Become the exception. Make sure that you and your team ask this important question. With the space and time you give yourself and your team, you may find that you have some room to slow down, think more strategically, and collaborate to devise a creative and innovative plan for the next year. Do some spring-cleaning.