One of the hardest challenges to running your business is to keep focused on high-level strategy. But it’s also crucial to your company’s future health. When the “busy-ness” and daily challenges continually keep you from doing what’s most important, it’s easy to fall into the trap of forgetting your strategic direction. As Steven Covey put it in his “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, people tend to do what’s “Urgent and Important”, but forget to do what’s “Important but not urgent”. Adopt these three habits so you stick to your strategic high-level plan even through the hectic, busy times!
Often you plan your day, then suddenly it’s the end of the day and you realize the plan was forgotten. You either have to leave it for tomorrow or stay late to get your intended work done. Even worse, you hit the ground running without a plan and suddenly a day, a week, then a year goes by before you realize you haven’t done anything towards creating or implementing a long-term strategy. So instead of writing a “to do” list, put the most important task right into your calendar. Schedule it! Set aside at least one half hour or one hour a day, that’s all. Even 5 minutes of action is better than no action. Do one important task towards your long-term plan, daily. You have to MAKE and TAKE time, otherwise it won’t get done.
Review your Vision, Mission, and Core Value Statements daily
Why are Vision, Mission, and Core Values important to review daily? Quite simply, they are your company’s road map, and they keep you focused on where you are going, and how you get there. (If you don’t have them, you need to create them. That’s another blog). Because sometimes you take on a project that doesn’t fit your vision, or you take on a client who isn’t a fit with your core values and as a result, you end up with the wrong client and you do a lot of work for not much reward. Move on to projects and clients that are a better fit, and stop spinning your wheels. When you keep your Vision, Mission, and Core Value statements at the forefront, you ensure a project or client is in alignment with your Vision, your Mission, and your Core Values.
Focus on the systems and processes
The key to streamlining is creating a step by step process for every area of your operations! Systems and processes ensure the quality and consistency you needed you get really busy. Start with a simple checklist, communicate it to your team (if you have one), then define it better over time . Ensure the process is executed properly from beginning to end without fail by everyone. If you don’t have a defined process, it’s easy for anyone to skip a step or cut corners to save time. Conversely, when the system is defined and followed, then even when you are busy you can rest assured that your clients are well looked after. If you don’t have systems, inconsistency will creep in that is detrimental to your reputation and to your customers’ loyalty.