I had a call with a CEO the other day who summarized a leadership challenge that I think is widespread: you know what you need to do (more disciplined execution, clearer strategy, stronger culture), but you just don’t have time. That gap is always there. There are too many things competing for your attention. And as we slowly emerge from the first 12 months of the Pandemic, I guarantee that gap is not getting smaller for any of us.
You’re not going to “hard work” your way out of this one, either. Yes, you must work hard, but as soon as you start turning your attention to those important areas to close the gap, other things will drop, and voila, your gap remains. Extra effort alone cannot close the gap.
To fully close the gap, you need leverage. We all get the concept of leverage—use physics to turn a small amount of effort into a big amount of impact/movement (think stick, fulcrum, and boulder).
When it comes to leadership and organizational performance, you create leverage through activities and internal changes that, by design, have an amplified positive impact. We call these high-leverage activities.
If you take time out of your schedule to personally call three potential sponsors and get one of them to sign on to sponsor your meeting, that’s a positive impact (though it also took you away from your other work). But if you mobilize your whole team to identify new value pathways in your sponsor community which enables you to reconfigure your sponsorship packages and reach an entirely new sector of the market—that’s going to mean a lot more than one sale, particularly over time, thus it has amplified positive impact. Yes, this also took you away from your other work, but because it is high-leverage, the net gain will start to close your gap.
Now, don’t run out and redesign your sponsorship package—that was just an example. For all I know, revamping sponsorship could be taking you away from your strategic success drivers. The point is, If you aren’t prioritizing the high-leverage activities based on your success drivers, then you run the risk of being super busy yet still falling behind (sound familiar?). So the question remains, how do you know which are the high-leverage activities you should pursue?
This is precisely what we focus on in our new Performance Coaching program. We have a strong methodology backing us up, but the process is quite simple: we work one-on-one with leaders to cut through the fog—connecting the dots among culture, strategy, and execution—and identify the high-leverage activities that will reduce friction and improve performance. We’ll also help you put a system in place for doing that prioritization on an ongoing basis. You already have the capacity to do this work, but it’s a heck of a lot harder to do without a coach. Contact us if you want to learn more.
Photo by Alex Radelich