When faced with a daily deluge of emails, voice mails, meetings and conference calls, achieving a sense of overall accomplishment in your work can feel elusive.
The problem is perhaps articulated best by authors Heike Bruch and Sumantra Ghoshal in their book, A Bias for Action: “Daily routines, superficial behaviors, poorly prioritized or unfocused tasks leech managers’ capacities—making ‘unproductive busyness’ one of the most critical behavioral problems in business today.”
The most successful leaders—whether they be CEOs, mid-level managers, small business owners or entrepreneurs—are those with a bias for action. Such individuals tend to be more intentional and productive, even in the midst of powerful odds: distractions, competing priorities, self-doubt and organizational inefficiencies.
With the right support, most people can get better at bridging the gap between knowing what to do and actually doing it, resulting in big gains for themselves, their teams and their companies. In fact, this potential for improved outcomes may very well be the reason why the coaching industry has grown exponentially over the past decade.
To sharpen your focus and become more results-inclined, you’ll want to pay attention to five key areas:
• Form your intention. To be effective, any goal must appeal to you both intellectually and emotionally.
It’s hard to stay committed to a priority that isn’t your own or that you can’t fully embrace.
• Strategize needed action. Analyze what moves you closer to what you want and what seems to be
standing in your way. You can’t always eliminate a distraction or conflict, but you can often lessen its
impact with a little creativity.
• Upgrade skills. Knowing what to do is rarely the problem. Rather, it may be knowing how to do
something. The tricky part is that the skills that need to be upgraded may not be what you think of
For example, many managers will say that they lack time management skills, when the real problem
stems from an inability to gracefully say “no,” a problem inspiring others to produce key deliverables
or even a misunderstanding of how to best approach the task at hand.
Resist the temptation to over generalize what’s holding you back. Talking to a trusted advisor or
colleague may provide you with an objective perspective.
• Improve your environment. Environment refers not only to your physical environment, but also to the
people and organizational relationships at work within your company. Identifying both the
cheerleaders and the saboteurs is instrumental to long-term success.
• Stay focused. Even the best-laid plans can be thwarted over time. If a goal is important to you or to
your company, it is advisable to establish an accountability system that will keep you on-track.
Complexity is rarely a precursor to success. Select the most critical data measures to track and find an
accountability partner who will reinforce your forward momentum.
Have a team that’s plagued with productivity problems? Address the tips above as a group, and you’ll find yourselves better positioned to achieve key goals. IBI