It’s not uncommon for business owners and leadership teams to embark on strategic planning and goal setting and then find themselves struggling to prioritize those goals and strategic initiatives. When you have a clear vision for what your business could become, and create strategies to achieve it, it’s frustrating to see your progress thwarted by the day-to-day responsibilities you already have on your plate.
In his book The E-Myth Revisited, Michael Gerber says, “Most entrepreneurs fail because you are working IN your business rather than ON your business.”
So, how do you effectively prioritize working on your business?
1 . Clarify each leader’s roles, responsibilities, and results.
Most likely, your leadership team members already had full plates to start with. And they’re likely wearing multiple hats. For example, I am currently our Chief Executive Officer and Chief Marketing & Growth Officer. Those are two separate roles with different responsibilities and results.
Take some time to document the roles each leader has, the 3-5 core responsibilities of each role, and the primary result metrics they are accountable for using our template.
2. Delegate or delete tasks each leader should no longer do.
High achievers tend to pile on new responsibilities without releasing any existing ones. As a result, we find ourselves working longer and harder to keep everything going, or we feel defeated and disappointed that we can’t get it all done. “Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do.” – Steve Jobs
Have each leader list the tasks and activities they’re regularly involved in. Then, have them segment the list between:
- Important and relevant to role. These tasks should be prioritized (see step 3).
- Important, but not relevant to role. These tasks should be delegated or outsourced to someone else.
- Not important. These tasks should be deleted or discontinued.
3. Have each leader create an Ideal Week to leverage their time and energy for their most important priorities.
You’re likely wasting a lot of energy by switching gears between day-to-day “in the business” tasks and strategic “on the business” goals and projects. Instead of taking each day as it comes, design an ideal week so you can intentionally batch time for each distinct type of work.
For some leaders, the work on goals and strategic initiatives is new and pushes them outside their comfort zone. This type of work is challenging, even more so when you’re new to it. So, this type of work should be prioritized at times of the day and week when you have the most energy.
“If everything is important, then nothing is.” – Patrick Lencioni
You and your leadership team will have to resist the temptation to take on too many things at once. When you set your quarterly goal and project plans, evaluate how much capacity each leader has available in that quarter. Then, adjust, and most likely reduce, your priorities accordingly. Get started with step one now by downloading our Role Description template.